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FAQ’s About Divorce in Massachusetts

Here are some common FAQ’s About Divorce in Massachusetts:

 

Q: Should I file first for divorce?

A: The answer to this question is largely a case-specific answer.

 

The determination of value of assets, which goes to the equitable division of marital assets pursuant to M.G.L. c. 208 §34, is determined from the date of marriage to the date the Defendant was served. Thus, if the plaintiff intends on acquiring substantial assets in the future, it could be beneficial to file for divorce prior to acquiring these assets.

 

Additionally, should the divorce case go to trial, the Plaintiff has the right to present their case first, along with the right of rebuttal after the Defendant has presented his/her side of the case. Being able to be the party to present his/her case first at trial can set the tone of the trial, and leave an impression on the judge.

 

However, divorce is also a very emotional and personal decision. If you believe that you are not emotionally ready to file for divorce, or that the marriage may still … Read More »



The Benefits of Using a Divorce Coach

Divorce Massachusetts, Divorce Mass., Divorce Suffolk County, Divorce Middlesex County, Divorce Essex County, Divorce Norfolk County, Divorce Boston, Divorce Winthrop, Divorce East Boston, Divorce Revere, Divorce Danvers, Divorce Lynnfield, Divorce Marblehead, Divorce Swampscott, Divorce Nahant, Divorce Peabody, Divorce Salem, Divorce Saugus, Divorce Arlington, Divorce Belmont, Divorce Burlington, Divorce Cambridge, Divorce Everett, Divorce Malden, Divorce Medford, Divorce Melrose, Divorce North Reading, Divorce Reading, Divorce Somerville, Divorce Stoneham, Divorce Wakefield, Divorce Watertown, Divorce Wilmington, Divorce Winchester, Divorce Woburn, Divorce Brookline, Divorce Braintree, Divorce Milton, Divorce Quincy, Divorce ChelseaThe divorce process can be a time of intense emotions ranging from feelings of loss, betrayal, shock, impatience and many others. It is important for individuals to have someone to rely on, who can help them manage all of their fears and critical decisions that need to be made. A certified divorce coach can be a valuable asset who can help clients modulate their feelings to see past the emotions, in working on divorce issues with their attorney. By being a thinking partner, a divorce coach can help clients be better organized for the process and work … Read More »



What You Should Know Before You File for Divorce In Massachusetts

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Divorce, word cloud concept on white background.

Divorce can be a confusing and complicated process. Negotiating your way through the court system can be difficult, particularly if you don’t have the assistance of an attorney to guide you through the system. Here are some facts and other things you should know about filing for divorce in Massachusetts.

 

A vast majority of divorces settle before trial. There are 2 ways to file for divorce in Massachusetts. The first is a joint petition, in which both spouses jointly file for the divorce. The other is a … Read More »



‘Happy Valentine’s Day. I Want a Divorce.’

Valentine’s Day is approaching — and it turns out the weeks leading up to this most romantic of holidays also mark the highpoint of “divorce season.”

While there’s no national database tracking divorce filings, anecdotally, attorneys report that January and February tend to be the busiest months of the year in terms of divorce inquiries.

Why? In large part it’s a holiday hangover. A recent poll by my divorce mediation company, showed that one in 12 people (and one in eight women!) are considering divorce during the holidays. And as soon as the holidays are over, many make it their New Year’s resolution to begin again and start divorce proceedings.

I’ve worked in family law for 12 years and without fail, my phone starts ringing off the hook on January 2nd. Most start by asking for the lay of the land — they want to know their options.

Unfortunately, most people still think of divorce as the 1980s War of the Roses scenario, where each party hires the meanest pitbull of a lawyer they can find, spends thousands of dollars on legal fees and … Read More »



The Benefits of Mediating or Arbitrating Your Family Law Case

The Benefits of Mediating or Arbitrating Your Family Law CaseIn Massachusetts, divorce and Family Law cases are handled by the Probate and Family Court. Under Massachusetts, law, proceedings in the Probate and Family Court are public and can be observed by anyone. Additionally, almost all cases in the Probate and Family Court are scheduled to be heard at 8:30 a.m. (which can be as many as 75-100 cases scheduled to be heard that day), and then the judge calls all cases in whatever order he/she deems fit. This means, if your case is heard first, there can be over 100 people in the courtroom to listen to the issues pending in your case.

Additionally, the Probate and Family Court is notoriously backlogged. Thus, it can take a few months before a motion on your case is heard, and a few years before your case goes to trial.

Given the very sensitive nature of divorce and Family Law proceedings, many spouses and parents do not want their family issues presented and argued in … Read More »



Who gets the house in a divorce?

Who gets the marital home in a divorce?Q: I’m getting a divorce. Who gets the house when the divorce is finalized?

A: The short answer is, it depends. There are many factors that must be considered in determining who gets to keep the marital home during a divorce.

Q: What factors are considered in determining who gets the marital home in a divorce?

A: One of the biggest factors is finances. If either or both spouses want to keep the marital home, the court will consider whether he/she can afford the operating costs of the marital home. Also, the court will consider whether the spouse who wishes to retain the marital home can afford to buy out the other spouse based upon the remaining equity in the marital home.

Q: How does a spouse buyout the other spouse’s equity in the marital home?

A: This can be done in a few ways. First, the spouse who retains the marital home can take out a mortgage, or refinance the existing mortgage and … Read More »



Property Division in a Divorce

Property Division in a DivorceQ: What is martial property?

A: Massachusetts law has a very broad definition of marital property. It defines marital property as property owned by either or both spouses, whether acquired during the marriage, or prior to the marriage. This means that if property is in only one spouse’s name, or was bought before the marriage, it is marital property and subject to property division in a divorce.

Q: What kinds of property are included property division in Massachusetts?

A: The short answer is EVERYTHING. This can include:

Real estate Bank accounts Stocks and bonds Retirement accounts Pensions Investment and brokerage accounts Personal Property Vehicles (including airplanes, boats and yachts and recreational vehicles) Business interests Interests in trusts Inheritance vested and nonvested benefits rights military retirement benefits Profit-sharing Annuity Deferred Compensation Insurance policies (with cash surrender value) coin collections frequent flier miles Professional baseball season tickets country club memberships Artwork Lawsuit proceeds Timeshares Income tax refunds Q: How does the law decide how the property is divided in a divorce?

A: There are several factors that must … Read More »



10 Things No One Tells You About Divorce

finish lineNot all divorce advice is created equal. For every good tip you receive from someone (don’t use your attorney as your therapist, keep those rants about your ex off Facebook), there are just as many unhelpful comments: “Don’t get mad, get everything!” Just no.

The best source for advice you can actually use are divorcés themselves. Below, 10 HuffPost bloggers and readers share the one tip they wish someone had given them during the divorce process.

1. Moving on is a marathon, not a sprint.

“The difference is, a marathoner trains for hours before the big race. Divorce strikes most of us unexpectedly with no training on how to get through it. Take things day by day and one step at a time until you find solid footing and each step doesn’t feel like you’re walking on quicksand. And realize that emotions shouldn’t be suppressed. As a man, I was raised in an environment where emotions weren’t to be spoken of — divorce taught me the opposite.” –Vidal Cisneros Jr.

2. Divorce feels a bit like death (without all the casseroles delivered to your door.)

“Losing your ex — and your … Read More »



Protecting Your Credit in a Divorce

It is not uncommon for married couples to have joint accounts, including joint credit cards. However, once married couples are involved in a divorce, they must decide how to apportion the credit card debt. At that time, each spouse should be looking to protect their credit as much as possible.

In Massachusetts, each spouse’s credit is effectively protected during the divorce through the automatic financial restraining order that is put into place at the beginning of the divorce through Supplemental Probate and Family Court Rule 411. That rule states:

The following restraining order shall remain in effect during the pendency of the action, unless it is modified by agreement of the parties or by further order of the court.

(1) Neither party shall sell, transfer, encumber, conceal, assign, remove or in any way dispose of any property, real or personal, belonging to or acquired by, either party, except: (a) as required for reasonable expenses of living; (b) in the ordinary and usual course of business; (c) in the ordinary and usual course of investing; (d) for payment of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs in connection with the action; (e) written agreement of … Read More »



FAQ’s About Massachusetts Divorce Law

With the national divorce rate close to 50%, many spouses have questions about divorce and the legal process of divorce. Divorce laws from state to state. Here is a summary of Massachusetts divorce law and frequently asked questions about this topic.

Q: Is there a legal separation in Massachusetts?

A: There is no formal “legal separation” of a couple in Massachusetts. However, if a married couple is now living apart, either spouse may file a Complaint for Separate Support. In the complaint, the Plaintiff must allege one of the following: 1) the Defendant is not providing suitable support, without justifiable cause; 2) the Plaintiff has been deserted by the defendant; 3) the Plaintiff is actually living apart from the Defendant for justifiable cause; or 4) the Plaintiff has justifiable cause for living apart from the Defendant.

In the action, the spouse may seek the following relief: 1) establish that such living apart from the Defendant is for justifiable cause; 2) prohibit Defendant from imposing any restraint on Plaintiff’s personal liberty; 3) grant custody of the minor and unemancipated children; 4) order suitable amount of … Read More »



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