Ah, home sweet home. Home is your happy place where you can rest and unwind. It is the place you selected to start your family and where you and your family make memories. There is justifiably so much sentimental value tied up in the marital home, which is why deciding on the final disposition of the home is one of the most daunting, but important decisions to make during the divorce process.
If you’ve owned a home in Massachusetts for more than a few days, chances are that it has gone up in value since you purchased it. Massachusetts has seen its median sale price for homes skyrocket by over twenty percent in the past five years, with total appreciation rates of nearly thirty percent during that same period. So, in addition to that sentimental value, it is also likely that your home has a lot of market value, which can be both a gift and a curse in the context of a divorce proceeding. Sure, more money is great, particularly when each party is (in)voluntarily reducing her/his total net worth by roughly half in the divorce, but these high values of real estate often dwarf the rest of … Keep reading
To the recent high school graduates from the class of 2019, congratulations! For the parents (particularly divorced or divorcing parents) of the recent high school graduates from the class of 2019, I hope you’ve saved some money.
High school graduates are going off to college at increasingly high rates. Unfortunately for parents and students, the cost of tuition, room, and board for colleges and universities has skyrocketed within the past decade. Some schools are now topping out at a whopping $70,000 per year for these costs. I apologize in advance to our readers who expected a quip about the recent college bribery scandal; as a proud alum of the University of Southern California (was not on the crew team), I will limit this discussion to the publicized retail cost of colleges and universities. Go Trojans!
For family law attorneys, the issue of college costs is invariably at the forefront of our minds when dealing with any case involving children of college age and younger. Even divorce agreements in which a child is only a toddler will often mention at least some aspirational language regarding the parents’ mutual desire. Such as for little Jimmy to “have the opportunity to attend … Keep reading
Part 1 of this two-part series covered a basic overview of virtual or “crypto” currencies, such as Bitcoin, and the rise and significance of the currency as an asset, subject to division, within the divorce context. In this installment, we will explore the tools divorcing spouses and attorneys can utilize to discover these virtual currencies during the divorce process.
Let’s imagine that, during a divorce proceeding, you suspect or learn that your spouse has a “digital wallet” as large as George Costanza’s infamous wallet in Seinfeld. What should you do? Well, despite the recent creation of these virtual currencies (more recent than the Seinfeld reference), many of the established techniques to gather information and documentation during a divorce proceeding can be effective in learning more about a spouse’s virtual currency portfolio.
Per the Supplemental Probate and Family Court Rules, within 45 days of the commencement of a contested divorce in Massachusetts, each spouse is supposed to provide the other with a Rule 401 Financial Statement completely and accurately declaring all of her/his income, expenses, assets, and liabilities, as well as an initial exchange of relevant financial documentation, commonly known as Rule 410 documents. This initial information and documentation can … Keep reading
For as long as there has been money, people have come up with creative ways of hiding it from others. As one could imagine, there have been more than a few instances of a divorcing spouse concocting an imaginative scheme to hide or disguise assets that are subject to division in a divorce proceeding. Historically, these scheming spouses resorted to hiding assets in offshore accounts in Switzerland and the Grand Cayman Islands or literally stuffing cash under a mattress.
These days, elevating one’s mattress with cash or taking a “ski trip” to the Alps are not the only ways spouses seek to hide assets in divorces; the age of “virtual currency” is upon us, and opportunistic spouses may think these new currencies will be the best way to maintain their hidden assets since the Swiss Banking Law of 1934.
By now, many of you have heard of Bitcoin, the first and most famous of the virtual or “crypto” currencies, which has experienced meteoric rises and precipitous drops in market value even within the past year. Here is a basic overview of this complex and relatively new form of currency:
- Bitcoin, first introduced in 2009, is just one example of
… Keep reading
“We have been together for so long, it is as if we are married.” In a small number of jurisdictions, including nearby Rhode Island, a couple can be legally recognized as being married, without any formal registration of a civil or religious marriage. This legal concept is often referred to as a common law marriage. Massachusetts is one of a majority of states in which common law marriage is not available. Nevertheless, some of the principles of common law marriage can be applied in Massachusetts divorce cases, particularly those in which alimony is at issue. For example, when considering the length of the marriage in a divorce case, Massachusetts courts have the authority, under limited circumstances, to include months or even years prior to a legal marriage as part of the overall length of the marriage. The effect of this artificial extension to the marriage length can be significant: the longer the marriage, the longer the potential duration of alimony.
The Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act of 2011 provided in its definition of “length of the marriage” that the marriage length shall be calculated as the number of months from the date of the legal marriage to the date of … Keep reading