Divorce is rarely a pleasant experience, as it signals the end of a marriage and the potential splitting of a family. Compounding the difficult nature of the process are the many issues that must be addressed before a divorce agreement can be agreed upon and made official by the Family Court.

The Divorce Process

Filing for divorce can be difficult for a family, even if it’s a mutual agreement reached by the parties. A divorce lawyer can guide you through the divorce process to ensure that your rights are protected and the best interests of your children are looked after.

More About Divorce

Collaborative divorce is a type of divorce that spouses use to reach an amicable ending in their marriage. For this to be made possible, both parties involved should be able to reach agreements together regarding some of the most important aspects of the divorce.

Cases that involve conflict and disagreements are those known as contested divorces. Contested divorce is often one of the most difficult divorce cases to litigate, especially if a spouse fails to retain the services of a divorce lawyer.

The presence and amount of alimony in a particular case is an area where judges have a great deal of discretion and differ substantially. Some of the more common approaches include awarding the lower income spouse one-third (1/3) of the differential in gross income or totaling the entire income and awarding alimony to create a percentage split such as 60% to 40%.

Under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 208 Section 34, at the time of divorce, the court may make a judgment for either party to pay alimony to the other. Besides or instead of a judgment to pay alimony, the court may assign to either party all or any part of the estate of the other. In determining the alimony to be paid, or in fixing the nature and value of the property, if any, to be assigned, the judges in the Massachusetts Family Courts will consider these factors:

  • Length of marriage
  • Conduct of the parties during marriage
  • Age of the parties
  • Health of the parties
  • Station of the parties
  • Occupation of the parties
  • Amount of income of the parties
  • Sources of income of the parties
  • Vocational skills of the parties
  • Employability of the parties
  • Estate of the parties
  • Liabilities of the parties
  • Opportunity of the parties to acquire future capital assets
  • Opportunity of the parties to acquire further income
  • Contribution of the parties in the acquisition, preservation and appreciation of their marital estate
  • Contribution of the parties as a homemaker in the family unit
  • Needs of the parties
  • Needs of the children

How is child support determined?

In Massachusetts, the courts utilize Child Support Guidelines (“Guidelines”) to determine the level of child support which would be appropriate in various situations. The Guidelines are amended from time-to-time. In setting a Child Support Order under the Guidelines, the court will consider child care costs, the number of children, cost of medical insurance for the children, parenting time expended by either parent, and prior court Orders and obligations affecting either party. Generally, the court must utilize the Guidelines; however, in certain circumstances the court may deviate from the Guidelines by entering specific written findings. Sometimes, the Guidelines don’t apply. However, when the Guidelines do apply, the court will utilize a “Child Support Guidelines Worksheet”.

What can I do to enforce a Court Order for child support or visitation?

Once the court has made a Temporary Order or Judgment, both parties must comply with the Order or Judgment. If one side does not comply, the other side can file a Complaint for Contempt seeking enforcement of the Order or Judgment, and reimbursement for attorney’s fees. Contempts may be filed to enforce much Court Orders, including but not limited to child support, alimony, visitation, and property division.

6 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Bankruptcy Attorney

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What You Should Know Before Filing a Divorce

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What You Should Know Before Filing a Divorce

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