Amaral & Associates, P.C. - Divorce, Family Law

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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 Settling Your Divorce or Family Law Case Outside of Court

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 ChelseaAll divorce and family law cases are stressful and emotional. Sometimes the first instinct of parents and spouses is to tell their ex “See you in court.” Although it can be emotionally satisfying to have your day in court and have your case heard by a Probate and Family Court judge, it may not be beneficial to you or your children.

 

Probate and Family Court judges all have very large dockets and caseloads. Each judge tries to give an adequate amount of time to each case, but given the backlog within the courts, this is not … Read More »



Divorce Mediation & Negotiation Rule One: Be Cordial

Divorce Mediation & Negotiation Rule One: Be Cordial Rule One: Be Cordial

(Provided by © National Legal Research Group, Inc.)

There is an old saying that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. By the time the parties are divorcing, the parties are pretty much used to dealing with each other by yelling and screaming. The lawyer should not posture in front of the client and should tell the client that he/she will not posture. Clients watch TV and need to be told that effective advocacy does not mean putting on a show for the client’s benefit.

This is not as simple as it sounds. Unfortunately, television has conditioned many clients that cordial conduct is not what to expect from a lawyer. Rather, the TV lawyer postures, threatens, intimidates and is rude. Then comes the commercial while the other side backs down.

It would be nice, but naive, to suggest that it is sufficient merely to be cordial. We do not practice law in a vacuum, however. In family law, we … Read More »



Pet “Custody” and Divorce

Pet “Custody” and DivorceIn all families, pets are just as an important member of the family as anyone else. Unfortunately, the law has not caught up with this view. Therefore, when spouses divorce, “custody” of a pet is not treated on the same level, legally speaking, as custody of child. In child custody matters, the legal standard is the “best interests of the child”. However, for pets, the law considers them property, and subject to property division under marital property laws.

When you think about how important a pet is to the family, thinking of them property is unbelievable. It seems like too much of a sterile and unemotional process, that when you are dividing the silverware and furniture, you have factor Fido into that division.

Although the law has not caught up with the popular mentality about pets, spouses are addressing pet “custody” in a more sensical manner in divorces. In cases involving children, the pets typically follow the children, as much as possible, during each spouse’s parenting time.

In cases where there no children, if the pet … Read More »



Handling a Child Custody Case

Handling a Child Custody CaseThere are not many other types of court cases that are more emotional and stressful than a child custody case. Because emotions are running high during these types of cases, parents can sometimes fall into pitfalls and traps, which can ultimately hurt their case down the road. Here are some tips for parents going through child custody cases.

Talk to Your Children. Parents should NEVER actively involve children in any pending child custody litigation. These are more “adult” conversations for the parents, their attorneys and the court. However, if a child has questions or concerns about what the child custody case, parents should try to answer the child’s questions and address the child’s concerns. These conversations should be age appropriate conversations, and should not, in any, disparage the other parent. A child shouldn’t feel that they have to take sides through this process. Even though the children aren’t actively involved in the litigation, they will still know what is going on, and most likely will be stress because of it. Try to Co-Parent with the Other Parent: Even during a custody case, parents … Read More »



How Much Will My Divorce Cost?

What are the legal fees of divorce?Many times one of the first questions a potential client will ask our firm is “How much will my divorce cost?” Unfortunately, there is no straight answer for this question. There are many variable factors that can affect how much a divorce will cost, and there is no “standard” legal fees for a divorce.

One of the biggest factors to determine how much a divorce will cost is whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. With uncontested divorces in Massachusetts (also known as IA divorces), spouses not only agree to get divorce, but agree to the terms of settlement of the divorce. They then jointly file with the court a Joint Petition for Divorce along with a Separation Agreement that outlines the terms of settlement. There is then only one court hearing to approve the documents that have been jointly filed by both spouses. Whereas, in a contested divorce, either one spouse opposes the divorce altogether, or the spouses cannot agree on some of the terms … Read More »



Divorce Mediation: Preparing Your Case

Now that you have made the wise decision to mediate your divorce case, it’s time to do your homework. As you know, mediation provides a mechanism for disputing parties to reach an amicable and well thought out resolution to a divorce, without having to depend on the court to make decisions for you and your spouse. In order to get as much out of your mediation as possible, you need to first do some basic research.

Now that you have made the wise decision to mediate your divorce case, it’s time to do your homework. As you know, mediation provides a mechanism for disputing parties to reach an amicable and well thought out resolution to a divorce, without having to depend on the court to make decisions for you and your spouse. In order to get as much out of your mediation as possible, you need to first do some basic research.

To be sure, divorce mediation is not a formal process like a contested divorce trial would be, but you should prepare your case as though you were going to trial. Whether you will be paying support to your spouse in the … Read More »



The Benefits of Mediating or Arbitrating Your Family Law Case

In 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.

Mediation

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 open court. Further, given the nature of … Read More »



Divorce and Money

money treeyou’re in the process of getting a divorce, money issues are likely to be a key point of discussion. Whether you’re the spouse of a billionaire or part of a working class couple trying to divide up the bills, money is contentious.

That’s the central point of my latest book, The New Love Deal (www.NewLoveDeal.com) co-written with famed Chicago divorce attorney Gemma Allen, and Judge Michele Lowrance who spent 20 years handling domestic relations cases in divorce court and is now a divorce mediator.

Even after a divorce or separation, you could face money problems stemming from your relationship unless your deal covers these issues — ranging from intertwined debt obligations (a mortgage, credit card balances) to future support and property division. Always listen to your legal counsel as to the laws that apply to your situation in your state of residence.

1. Tax consequences: A division of property as part of a divorce is generally not taxable to either party. But if instead of dividing marital property one spouse agrees to accept monthly maintenance (alimony), that income will be taxed as ordinary … Read More »



25 Ways to Cheer Yourself up During a Divorce

happy womanGetting through divorce is never easy, no matter what the circumstances. If your energy is drained and you feel as though you’re stuck, here are 25 sure-fire ways you can cheer yourself up and boost your energy while going through a divorce.

1.) Decide ( and Commit) to Recover From Your Divorce:

Period!

If you make a conscious choice to let go of the pain of your divorce, to heal your heart and move forward, and to take responsibility for your own life, you will!

Thoughts are very powerful! Be kind to yourself, be your own best friend, get in the driver’s seat of your life and live intentionally!

2.) Get Inspired:

Select the quotes that resonate the most with you.

Write each on a Post-It note and place in various locations where you will see them throughout the day as reminders such as: bathroom mirror, nightstand, fridge, check book, car dashboard, underwear drawer, etc.

Here are some of my favorites…

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Live with no … Read More »



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