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Child Support Series: Maximum Levels

Posted by: Teresa Reade

In part four of our child support series, we look at how the child support guideline's maximum and minimum levels can effect families.

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Child Support Series: Alimony and Child Support

Posted by: Teresa Reade

In part three of our child support series, we look at the changes and additional options the court now has in addressing support orders for alimony, child support, or unallocated support, and the potential tax consequenes of both.

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Child Support Series: Self Employment Income

Posted by: Teresa Reade

In part two of our child support series, we look at the changes to child support guidelines and how the court will consider self employment income, cash income and rental income.

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Child Support Series: College

Posted by: Teresa Reade

In Massachusetts, the Commonwealth's child support guidelines are reviewed and revised every four years, at which time the child support task force examines issues with child support calculations, amendments in the percentages of payments by parties, and extraordinary situations that may affect the payment of child support. In evaluating the most recent changes, effective September 15, 2017, we are presenting a series of articles outlining the most significant changes to the guidelines.

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Private School and Divorce

Posted by: Teresa Reade

The issue of education is one that concerns many parents who wish to provide their children with as much, or more, then they had during their lifetime. Many families hope to provide their children with a top rate private education, and many plan financially for that even before the children are born. However, when families separate, there often remain questions about whether a private education will be possible, or if it will be continued after the separation and divorce. Generally, ...

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Summer Parenting

Posted by: Teresa Reade

During summer school break, the questions of "what do to with the kids" is often a more difficult challenge with divorced or separated parents. There are several issues that arise with issues of both the parenting schedule as well as legal custody that should be considered. As with any parenting issue, parents must first carefully read their court orders and agreements as it often holds the answer to these questions.

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Rental Properties and Divorce

Posted by: Rick Reade

Rental properties are often considered a good long-term investment with potential for income each month from the tenants. However, during a Massachusetts divorce process, rental income can present problems. This is because the properties are assets that must be divided, and they are also sources of income that may be considered for support calculations.

When dividing property, the court will look at various factors surrounding the property when making determinations. The Court can order the property sold, or can award the ...

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5 Considerations During a Divorce

Posted by: Teresa Reade

Any issue relating to family matters-divorce, separation, custody, support, alimony, property division-are highly emotional and difficult for even the most sensible individuals to navigate. However, in most cases, not only do people have to deal with their own emotions, but have to interact with a current or former spouse who is as equally emotional, all the while trying to determine the best interest of themselves and their children. Most people end up confused and exhausted, while trying to act reasonably ...

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Assignment of Income: When can a court assign unearned income?

Posted by: Teresa Reade

In cases where support is at issue in a Massachusetts divorce, whether it be child support or alimony, the court will look to evidence of the parties' respective incomes. For example, evidence can be in the form of financial statements, bank records, tax returns, and testimony, among other things. There are cases, however, when a party may be earning less than they could otherwise be making if they had a higher-paying job. The argument for these cases is that sometimes ...

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Businesses and Divorce

Posted by: Rick Reade

DIVISION OF BUSINESS INTERESTS IN THE MARITAL ESTATE

Divorcing when one or both parties hold an interest in a business requires additional information, analysis and consideration. Any business interests in which either spouse possesses is subject to division during divorce proceedings in Massachusetts, just as any other forms of property and assets, including the martial home, stocks and other investments, pensions, and personal property. How the business is divided depends upon many factors, such as the extent of either spouse's involvement ...

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Using a Parent Coordinator

Posted by: Teresa Reade

Do I need a parent coordinator?

When representing clients in family related matters, often the most difficult issue is child custody. In many situations, the issues that caused the marriage to break down in the first place related to disagreements around parenting, and these differences become even more amplified when trying to co-parent after separation. One possible solution helping address these issues is by using a parent coordinator in the appropriate situation.

What is a parent coordinator?

A parent coordinator is an independent, ...

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When Living Together Matters in Property Division

Posted by: Teresa Reade

While Massachusetts does not recognize "common law" marriage, living together can have an effect on each party's legal rights and obligations should they later legally marry and then divorce.

When determining alimony and property division in a divorce case, one of the many factors a judge is required to consider is the length of the marriage (G.L. c. 208 §34). Typically the length of the marriage is the time from the date of marriage to the date of service ...

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Top 10 Questions New Clients Ask About Divorce

Posted by: Teresa Reade

When we meet with a new client who is facing the possibility of a divorce or paternity action, we are asked many of the same questions about the process. In many aspects the divorce or paternity process will be the same, although there will be differences based upon the specific facts of the case and the personalities of parties and their attorneys. Below are ten of the most common questions that we receive from new clients on our initial meeting.

  1. How ...

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Family Law Matters Podcast Episode 6 - Estate Planning and Divorce

Posted by: Teresa Reade

In this Family Law Matters Podcast, estate planning attorney Bridget Murrayof Cannon Murray Law provides some important information regarding estate planning and how a divorce can affect your current estate plan, and what changes should immediately be made after divorce.

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Parties Cannot Agree to Exclude Income in Child Support Calculations

Posted by: Teresa Reade

The court recently considered the issue of what income to include as part of the child support calculation, and whether a mother had validly waived a portion of the father's income for purposes of calculating child support.

In the recent Hoegen case (Hoegen v. Hoegen, 14P1491), the parties were divorced by way of an agreement. As part of that agreement, ...

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Family Law Matters Podcast: How is my insurance affected by divorce?

Posted by: Teresa Reade

When going through something as emotional as a divorce, it is easy to overlook some of the finer details of your lives such as insurance. In this Family Law Matters Podcast, insurance expert Kathryn Boudreau of Circle Insurance provides individuals some important information regarding different lines of insurance for individuals and businesses.

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Affairs and Divorce - How the Courts View Spousal Misconduct

Posted by: Teresa Reade

Following the Ashley Madison website scandal, many legal scholars expected a frenzy of divorce filings would follow as people learned that their spouse was among those identified in the Ashley Madison hack. In fact, according to some statistics, Massachusetts was ranked seventh highest among states with active members at the time of the hack. Opinions will vary as to whether this increase occurred, and in the meantime ...

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The Proposed Child Custody Law - Will It Make a Difference?

Posted by: Teresa Reade

There may be changes coming to the way child custody decisions are made by courts in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts if a proposed bill is passed into law by the state legislature. Bill S.834 has been presented to the legislature to replace the existing statute (Mass. General Laws Chapter 208, Section 31), and is currently under review and debate.

Section 31 has been ...

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Family Law Matters Podcast TM Four - Financial Concerns and Divorce

Posted by: Teresa Reade

In this Podcast we welcome Michael Murray of Peabody Wealth Advisors. Mr. Murray is a financial planner and is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary®, an Investment Advisor Representative, and Registered Representative of SII Investments, Inc.® In this Episode we discuss how divorce can be one of the most expensive decisions of a person's life, yet many don't consider serious financial concerns facing each side prior to making the decision ...

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Family Law Matters Podcast TM Three - Relocating from Massachusetts with Children After Divorce

Posted by: Teresa Reade

In the third Family Law Matters TM Podcast, we discuss the difficult issue of relocating with children after the divorce. As we discussed in the previous article, this kind of situation is becoming more frequent, and we thought it was deserving of its own podcast discussion. No two cases are ever the same, and the court often struggles to find a solution to a problem that ...

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Relocating With Children After Divorce

Posted by: Teresa Reade

People are much more mobile today than they were just a few years ago. This frequently creates a situation post-divorce where the parent who is the primary caretaker of the children, or who has "physical custody," needs to relocate due to job opportunities, remarriage, or other family commitments. This will obviously affect the non-custodial parent and their parenting time, so how does the ...

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Family Law Matters Podcast TM - Episode Two - Completing the Financial Statement

Posted by: Teresa Reade

We are pleased to present Episode Two of our Family Law Matters Podcast, which relates to the article we recently posted discussing the Financial Statement, which is a document that is required of all parties in a family law proceeding within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We recommend that you download a blank financial statement so that you can follow along ...

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Completing Your Financial Statement in Probate & Family Court

Posted by: Teresa Reade

The financial statement is the cornerstone of every divorce or paternity action. Judges use the information to calculate support payments and divide the marital estate. A divorce is often compared to the dissolution of a corporation or a business partnership, because both involve a careful and detailed division of the economic assets that have been acquired. The law sees both partners as a single economic ...

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Family Law Matters Podcast TM: Episode One

Posted by: Teresa Reade

We are excited to publish Episode One of the Reade Law Firm Family Law Matters Podcast TM. This episode will provide an overview of what you can expect from our podcasts, the purpose of the podcasts, as well as an overview of the kinds of matters the family law attorneys at the Reade Law Firm handle on a regular basis. In the future, check back to the blog ...

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Can the court use a new spouse's income to calculate child support?

Posted by: Teresa Reade

It is often a concern to parties on both sides of a child support order whether a new spouse's income will effect a child support obligation. It is well settled that a new spouse, or any non-parent, is not responsible to support a child. Krokyn v. Krokym, 378 Mass. 206, 215 (1979). The more difficult situation is when, and to what extent, a new spouse's income should be considered by the court in calculating the payor's child support obligation.

The Massachusetts ...

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Can I change my divorce agreement to stop paying alimony if I retire?

Posted by: Teresa Reade

The Alimony Reform Act was enacted on March 1, 2012, and made broad changes to the alimony laws in Massachusetts by limiting the length of time that a paying spouse was required to pay alimony. The law stated that alimony would stop at the death of either party, the payor reaching retirement age (as defined by the Social Security Administration), upon the co-habitation of the recipient, or upon other terms. However, whether an agreement entered prior to the new law ...

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10 Divorce Myths Uncovered

Posted by: Teresa Reade

  1. It is OK to deny visitation if the other parent does not pay child support.

Parents often feel that child support and visitation are related and that the paying parent should have time with the children only if he/she is current on their support or that paying support entitles the payor to time with the children. The two issues are absolutely unrelated. Custody, or parenting time, is the time each parent spends with the children to build a relationship, teach, love ...

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You're divorced! Now what?

Posted by: Teresa Reade

After the emotional, and often expense, experience of going through a divorce, the Judge's gavel has dropped and the marriage is over. Now what happens?

First, make sure you actually divorced. There are many procedural and internal matters that must occur before a divorce is complete and finalized. The court has to approve your settlement agreement, or issue a judgment if your divorce went to trial. Either way, the court must actually enter the judgment, which is the document that finalizes ...

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Who can Claim the Dependent Child Exemption?

It is sometimes argued that the parent paying child support should be able to claim the Dependant Child Exemption. According to the 1985 Deficit Reduction Act, as amended by Regulation in July of 2008, the parent with whom their child under the age of 19 resides for greater number of nights of the year is entitled to the exemption, with some exceptions. The three exceptions are:

1) The parent who is otherwise eligible for the exemption if they enter into an ...

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Determining Parental Rights in Lesbian Same-Sex Divorces in Massachusetts

In early 2004, Massachusetts became the sixth jurisdiction in the world to legalize same-sex marriage when the Supreme Judicial Court held that it was unconstitutional to limit marriage to heterosexual couples under the Massachusetts Constitution (see, Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health, 440 Mass 309 (2003)). Frequently when the marriage is between a lesbian couple, one of the partners seeks pregnancy through artificial insemination. This results in the birth of a child during the marriage, and both partners are listed ...

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Massachusetts Financial Statement Do's and Dont's

The financial statement is the cornerstone of every divorce or paternity action. Judges use the information to calculate support payments and divide the marital estate. Here are some common mistakes or oversights made by attorneys and pro se litigants alike.

1

DO NOT underestimate its importance

When negotiating or arguing over the division of the marital assets or child support and alimony, the parties' financial statement will be the primary sword and shield for each side. The information provided is under oath, ...

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Property Division - What is subject to division?

In some cases of divorce the court will order one spouse to pay the attorneys' fees of the other. This is most likely where there is the large disparity between the income levels of the parties, or if one of the parties unnecessarily escalates the attorneys' fees in the case by requiring litigation of issues and refusing to entertain settlement offers. It is also possible for the parties to reach an agreement on the payment of attorneys' fees as part ...

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Child Custody FAQs

Below are the most common questions relating to child custody.

What is legal custody?

Legal custody relates to the ability to make important decisions on behalf of a child, or other incompetent person, who is to young or unable to make their own decisions in matters such as education, medical care, emotional, moral and religious development. Joint legal custody is commonly granted to both parents, but may not be granted if the parents have basic fundamental differences in the major ...

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Attorneys' Fee Shifting in Divorce Cases

In some cases of divorce the court will order one spouse to pay the attorneys' fees of the other. This is most likely where there is the large disparity between the income levels of the parties, or if one of the parties unnecessarily escalates the attorneys' fees in the case by requiring litigation of issues and refusing to entertain settlement offers. It is also possible for the parties to reach an agreement on the payment of attorneys' fees as part ...

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