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

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Financial Planning For and During a Divorce

financial planning divorce

A divorce brings about many changes in a person’s life. One of the most significant changes is the financial impact of a divorce. Spouses go from having a combined household with (usually) two separate incomes, to living apart, and supporting themselves on their own. If you are contemplating a divorce, or have already filed for divorce, there are different actions you can take to plan for your own financial future after a divorce.

 

Create a Budget:

Review your household expenses to see what your weekly/monthly expenses come out to. In addition to including the usual expenses (i.e. mortgage/rent, utilities, heat, cable TV, telephone, groceries, clothing, etc.), don’t forget to include other typical expenses, such as uninsured medical expenses, motor vehicle expenses, child care, vacation and entertainment, education costs for yourself and your children.

Once you have your budget, look at what your income is, and what it is likely to be at the end of the divorce. Don’t forget to factor in any alimony and/or child support that you may be paying or receiving.

Based upon … 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 »



Child Support, Alimony & Taxes

Child Support, Alimony & TaxesWhen going through a divorce, there are many financial issues that spouses must address. Some of these financial issues have tax consequences, and other financial issues do not. One area where taxes come into play is support. Under Massachusetts Law, there are two categories of support.

The first category is alimony, which is the periodic payment of support by one spouse to another spouse for that other spouse’s support. Under the federal tax code, and Massachusetts tax law, the alimony paid by the payor spouse is tax deductible for the payor spouse, but taxable to the recipient spouse. That means that the alimony received by the recipient spouse is considered income, and it must be reported on that spouse’s tax returns.

The other category of support is child support, which is support paid by one spouse to another spouse for the support of the child(ren) of the marriage. Unlike alimony, child support is not tax deductible for the payor spouse, or taxable to the recipient spouse. Child support is considered a tax neutral payment.

Read More »



General Term Alimony: What is It?

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Q: What is General Term Alimony?

A: There are 4 types of alimony under Massachusetts law. The four types are:

General Term Alimony: the periodic payment of support to a recipient spouse who is economically dependent. Rehabilitative alimony: the periodic payment of support to a recipient spouse who is expected to become economically self-sufficient by a predicted time, such as, without limitation, reemployment; completion of job training; or receipt of a sum due from the payor spouse under a judgment. Reimbursement alimony: the periodic or one-time payment of support to a recipient spouse after a marriage of not more than 5 years to compensate the recipient spouse for economic or noneconomic contribution to the financial resources of the payor spouse, such as enabling the payor spouse to complete an education or job training. Transitional alimony: the periodic or one-time payment of support to a recipient spouse after a marriage of not more than 5 years to transition the recipient spouse to an adjusted lifestyle or location as a result of the divorce.

 

General Term Alimony is the most … 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 »



How Much Alimony Will I Get?

In any divorce, a common question divorce attorneys get is “Will I get alimony, and if so, how much?” In Massachusetts this is determined under the Alimony Reform Act of 2011, which is codified at Massachusetts General Laws c. 208 §§48-54. Under the Alimony Reform Act, there are 4 different categories/types of alimony: 1) General Term Alimony; 2) Rehabilitative Alimony; 3) Reimbursement Alimony; and 4) Transitional Alimony.

alimony

Under Massachusetts law, the Probate and Family Court must consider several factors to determine: a) whether either spouse is entitled to alimony; b) what type of alimony a spouse is entitled to; and c) how much alimony is a spouse entitled to. These factors are:

 

the length of the marriage; age of the parties; health of the parties; income, employment and employability of both parties, including employability through reasonable diligence and additional training, if necessary; economic and non-economic contribution of both parties to the marriage; marital lifestyle; ability of each party to maintain the marital lifestyle; lost economic opportunity as a result of the marriage; and such other factors as the court considers relevant and material.

 

Although many of these factors are … Read More »



Getting Divorced? Do Not Ignore Your Credit Score (and How to Rebuild it if You Did)

credit divorceCredit scores are one of the most critical finances pieces of recovering financially from a divorce. Credit scores are also one of the most overlooked pieces of post-divorce, as I’ve found by communicating with thousands of followers of my blog, WealthySingleMommy.com. I reached out to Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education for Credit.com, and author of the free ebook Debt Collection Answers: How to Use Debt Collection Laws to Protect Your Rights for tips on navigating this important reality of life.

How big of a problem are credit scores for people facing divorce?

Your credit scores can take a big hit when you divorce, usually for one of three reasons: One, your income may drop and/or your expenses may increase since you are no longer splitting them with a spouse. This may mean it’s harder to keep up with bills. The second is that most couples have at least one joint account when they split. If the debt isn’t paid off right away it will usually end up being the responsibility of one spouse, and if he or she doesn’t pay it both credit reports (and by extension credit scores) will … Read More »



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