Ronald P. Barriere

military pensions

Pending Federal legislation could have a huge impact on how judges will divide military pensions during a divorce. In a previous post, I discussed at length how military pension plans currently could be divided in the context of a Massachusetts divorce matter. Massachusetts Probate and Family Court judges generally have the discretion to either divide a pension as an asset or to divide the income resulting from the plan “if, as, and when” it entered pay status.

If the parties agree to (or if the Family Court Judge elects) the “if, as and when” approach, the service member’s pension pay would be divided between the service member and the former spouse based on the rank and years of service of the service member at the time of retirement. However, the pending federal legislation proposed by Representative Steve Russell would instead direct state judges to divide military pensions based on the rank and years of service at the time of the divorce. The enactment of such a bill would hugely influence the retirement pension payments of both retired service members and their former spouses.… Keep reading

parent education program

parent education program
“Whaddya mean, I have to take a class!?”

As a family law attorney, I’m often met with surprise (even outrage!) when I tell my clients that they’re required to participate in a Parent Education Program in connection with their Massachusetts divorce. People always say that it’s so much easier to get married than it is to get divorced, and that’s not entirely without merit.

While everyone knows that divorce is a costly process, both financially and emotionally, litigants too often become so focused on their own pain that they lose sight of the emotional toll the process can put on their children. Recently there have been some important changes to the Parent Education Program.… Keep reading

American Flag, military
We’re grateful for the sacrifices of all our service men and women.

My first exposure to military divorce came not as an attorney, but rather as a child raised on a military base for most of my formative years. Any “Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine/Coast Guard Brat” can attest that there are a number of stressors associated with “base life.” Divorce was commonplace, though never easy.

Base life comes with benefits beyond unity of purpose, a sense of community and pride. There are also some surprising financial perks as well. Reduced cost housing is a well known benefit of living on a military reservation, but base life also has reduced-cost health insurance, entertainment and shopping. Military reservations are free from most state taxation, which can result in substantial savings to military families. Interestingly, one of the more hot button topics in a military divorce is whether the divorcing spouse of a service member is able to access the perks of base life.… Keep reading

Top 4 Questions About Divorce and Special Education

Messy deskDivorce is more common than ever. According to the Center for Disease Control, another trend on the rise is the prevalence of Attention Deficit Disorder (“ADD”) and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (“ADHD”) diagnosed in young children. As a family law attorney, I’ve seen how the overlap between the two can lead to increased conflict between divorced or divorcing parents as to how to handle their ADHD child’s medical and special education plan.

Often, a child with ADD, ADHD or another learning disability will require a specialized list of accommodations or alterations to the school’s general education plan in order to address the child’s unique disability as well as the child’s learning style. The two must common types of specialized education plan are the 504 plan and Individual Education Plan (“IEP”).… Keep reading

Top 9 Tips to Make Your Deposition Less Stressful

Technology to transcribe depositions has slightly improved since this photo was taken. Slightly.
Technology to transcribe depositions has slightly improved since this photo was taken. Slightly.

A deposition is a commonly used discovery device in many divorce cases. Many people are nervous or even afraid of being deposed. Follow these nine tips to help relieve some of the anxiety surrounding a deposition.

A deposition calls for a witness (often, but not always, one of the parties) to give oral testimony under oath before trial. Depositions are conducted in front of a court reporter and are then reduced to a transcript. Transcripts are often admitted into evidence at trial, where they may be used to either strengthen or dispute the testimony offered.

As a family law attorney, I use depositions for three purposes:

  1. Discover relevant information.
  2. Observe the demeanor, poise, and memory of the deponent (the person being deposed).
  3. Commit the deponent to a version of the facts.
Keep reading