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5 Essential Tips for Financial Planning After Divorce

divorce financesDivorce is about severing ties and starting over, at the same time. Having a financial plan can help secure your future and give you peace of mind, but this process isn’t without its challenges.

Related: ‘I’m Getting Divorced, and My Spouse Owns Part of My Company’

“You have to reassess everything,” says chartered financial analyst Robert Stammers, director of investor education for the CFA Institute. “Everything you do is built on a set of future goals, and these change when you get divorced. Your future goals aren’t going to be the same; they’re no longer in connection with someone else.”

While untangling your marital finances, then, think about how to fund the divorce along with your new life.

As Laura Pilz, financial advisor at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, says, “One of the fundamental financial planning rules is that oftentimes, when people get divorced, they think they’re entitled to the life they’ve been living. What ‘divorce’ means is that you’ll get a life that’s 50/50. You’re not guaranteed that you’ll maintain the lifestyle that you’ve become accustomed to.”

Separating emotions from financial decisions makes for smarter choices, too. “Marriage is about love, … Read More »



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 »



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 »



‘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 »



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 »



Prenuptial Agreements in Massachusetts

What is a Prenuptial Agreement? Do you need one? Contact Amaral & Associates for the answers you need regarding Prenuptial Agreements in Massachusetts.Q: What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A: A Prenuptial Agreement is a contract between an engaged couple who is planning to marry, in which the contract, divides all (or some) of each individual’s property in the event of divorce and/or death. It can also determine whether any alimony will be paid in the event of a separation or divorce.

Q: Who needs a Prenuptial Agreement?

A: Anyone who is getting married and you have any assets that he/she wants to protect, even if it is just one asset, needs a Prenuptial Agreement.

Q: What are some common terms included in a Prenuptial Agreement?

A: A Prenuptial Agreement can be drafted:

To protect a substantial inheritance or an interest in a trust; To protect an interest in a business; To provide for children from a previous … 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 »



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 »



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