If you’re considering a divorce, prepare to face some of the most difficult questions of your life. The divorce process doesn’t have to be a minefield of uncertainty, though. Some of the most common mistakes are also the most avoidable, as long as you have the right direction.
Join my colleague, attorney Michael (Mick) Judge for an inside look at the divorce process. He’ll touch on pre-divorce considerations (including pre-nuptial agreements, divorce mediation and marriage counseling), the divorce process, and post-divorce matters (including modifications and contempt actions). A financial advisor will join him to address many of the pressing financial implications of your divorce.
People have very strong opinions on whether to hire a divorce attorney. One friend may tell you, “Oh I didn’t use an attorney, and it was fine.” Another may say, “My attorney was terrible, the ex got everything!” Don’t let others’ experiences with divorce solely guide your decision when hiring legal counsel for your separation.
Many people think it’ll be easier if they don’t bring lawyers into the picture. They think they can save money, or allow the divorce to be less contentious. But even if you’re going to negotiate directly with your spouse or use a mediator, you still need to double check everything with an attorney. You don’t have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars or drag your spouse into years of litigation, quite the opposite. Double-checking with an attorney can probably save you legal headaches down the road. They can provide more valuable information than you will ever find from google. Guidance on protecting your digital assets, new changes in alimony laws, rights you may not know about or complex processes to avoid.
Every situation is unique. If you have kids or complicated assets, you might need a top shelf divorce … Keep reading
If you find the Divorce Law Monitor blog to be helpful, we could use your assistance with something! Please indulge us as we ask for a quick favor. The Expert Institute is accepting nominations for the 2016 Best Legal Blog Competition, an annual list of the 100 best legal blogs. If Divorce Law Monitor is a good resource for you, we would be grateful for your nomination! The more nominations a blog receives, the more likely it is to be included in the contest, so every vote counts.
Despite the oppressive heat, it’s almost back to school time again. By this point in the summer most parents are pretty ready for school to begin. One of the best ways to make the school year smoother for your kids is to plan ahead with your coparent! Firm up a schedule as much as you can before the school year begins. There are a variety of apps available that are useful to help divorced parents mutually handle their schedules.
Make sure to include the following on your mutual planning calendar:… Keep reading
In addition to being a busy practicing partner here at Burns & Levinson, I’ve been the chair of the Divorce & Family group and co-chair of the Private Client group since 1989. I’ve had the privilege of assisting more people than I can count through some of the most challenging times in their lives. It’s been rewarding, fun and occasionally crazy. The legal world has changed so much, staying up to date with new laws, technologies and ways to communicate continues to be exciting.
I’m thrilled to announce that my very able partner, Robin Lynch Nardone, has agreed to replace me as chair! Robin and I have worked together for 20 years and I know she’ll do a terrific job. Not to worry though, I’m not retiring! This will just give me more time for focusing on my clients, writing these blog posts and my one true love – spending more time with my animals. My horse, Noah, is a big proponent of this decision.… Keep reading
The parties were married in 1995, had two children and divorced in 2004. They then lived separately, complying with their divorce agreement, until they began living together as a family again in 2007. They remarried in December 2012. Alas, things didn’t work out as planned, and the wife filed for a second divorce in June of 2013.
The Alimony Decision
The trial judge held that the length of their marriage, for the purpose of determining the alimony term under the Alimony Reform Act, ran from the date of their first marriage till the service of the second divorce. This included the period when they were living separately, under the terms of a divorce agreement, in the calculation of time that alimony in the new divorce would last. Not surprisingly, this was appealed.… Keep reading
I usually take no position on pending legislation but the proposed changes to the alimony law will adversely affect thousands of pre-existing divorce agreements. If you can, please take the time to read this update and consider calling or writing your State Representative and Senator. There is a lot of well organized force on the other side.
As an update to an earlier blog post, the recent challenge to the Alimony Reform Act continues to move through the legislature. Bill H4110 is currently pending before the full House of Representatives. On April 19, 2016, the House Committee of Steering, Policy and Scheduling reported Bill H4110 to the next sitting of the House for vote. That same day, the House completed a second reading of the Bill, ordering it to a third reading. This is standard procedure and means that the Bill is eligible for a vote by the full House at any time during the remainder of this legislative session. The last day for formal sessions of this legislative session is July 31, 2016, which is also the last day for recorded votes.… Keep reading
On a gorgeous day like today, you just want to sit outside and sip on a tall glass of lemonade. Recently though, the taste of lemonade has been made a little sharp by the fabulous Beyoncé. Infidelity became a hot topic with her recent release of Lemonade, a scathing, seemingly confessional visual album. As strident a response to infidelity as it was, she has also shone a light on the number of marriages that do survive unfaithfulness.… Keep reading
There are many stops on the road before a divorce trial takes place. If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse still have disputes after your four way meeting, your next shot at settling the case is through a pretrial conference. At the pretrial conference, the judge who would preside over the actual trial is the judge who will look through all your documentation and tell everyone what he or she thinks about the remaining disagreements. If you’re able to work through the disputes, this can be a great opportunity to settle without going to litigation. Your attorney should bring a draft agreement, as most people get divorced on the day of the pretrial conference.
Tell Your Story with a Pretrial Memo
In preparation for your pretrial conference, your attorneys have the opportunity to explain your side of the story through a well-written memo (a “pre-trial memorandum”). This memo should clearly explain to the judge what you want and why you deserve it. It’s your chance to tell your side of the story in the best way possible.… Keep reading
Earlier in 2016 our Private Client group happily welcomed Ann “Hether” Hetherwick Cahill as an associate. Hether’s practice focuses on probate and family court litigation, including will contests, removal claims, trust disputes, equity actions, guardianship and conservatorship proceedings, and family law. We’re pleased to feature some of her thoughts on the recent developments with the Alimony Reform Act!
There has been a new development in the recent challenge to the Alimony Reform Act. As a backdrop, the landmark Alimony Reform Act (M.G.L. c. 208, sections 48-55), which went into effect on March 1, 2012, changed alimony awards by:
Creating durational limits for payments.
Terminating alimony when a payor reaches retirement age.
Suspending, reducing or terminating an alimony obligation when a payee cohabitates. The Act allows for deviation from these timeframes based upon the circumstances of the case.
On January 20, 2015, the Supreme Judicial Court issued decisions in three cases (Chin v. Merriot, Rodman v. Rodman, and Doktor v. Doktor) interpreting the Act’s language to hold that the retirement and cohabitation provisions apply only prospectively to judgments entered after March 1, 2012 (the date on which the Act became effective).… Keep reading