Divorce

MA Divorce AttorneyIf you are seeking information about divorce, you are undoubtedly already facing troubling times and difficult decisions. One way to regain control of your life is to gain as much knowledge and insight as you can about all aspects of a divorce.

A divorce is a judgment of a court ending a marriage. Legal documents must be filed with the appropriate Probate and Family Court in order to initiate the divorce process.

Our divorce practice includes:

Child custody, visitation and child support

When the Probate and Family Court considers a divorce case, it also decides custody, visitation, child support if there are children. In addition to legally ending your marriage, the court looks at other issues which need to be decided before the divorce is finalized. These issues may also include: support of children, visitation with the children, division of assets (for example, pensions, bank accounts or stocks), alimony (or support for the spouse), division of personal property (for example, car or furniture), what will happen to any real estate, who gets to live in the marital home, division of debts (for example, credit cards or electric bills), name change possibly, etc.

In Massachusetts, the property and debt issues are typically settled between the parties by a signed Marital Settlement Agreement or the property award is actually ordered and decreed by the Family Court within the Judgment of Divorce.

Distribution of property

Massachusetts is referred to as an “equitable distribution” state. When the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the Family Court will take certain steps to divide the assets. First, it will go through a discovery process to classify which property and debt is to be considered marital. A monetary value on the marital property and debt will then be assigned. Last, it will distribute the marital assets between the two parties in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is deemed by the Family Court to be fair.

As per the divorce statute in Massachusetts, the courts shall consider the following: a. length of the marriage; b. the conduct of the parties during the marriage; c. the age; d. health; e. station; f. occupation; g. amount and sources of income; h. vocational skills; i. employability; j. estate; k. liabilities and needs of each of the parties; l. the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income. (Massachusetts General Laws – Chapter 208 – Sections: 34).

When spouses can agree on how these issues should be decided, they can file a written agreement with the court and ask the judge to approve it.

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