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August 2015 Archives

When Can an Existing Child Support Amount be Modified in Massachusetts

In the case, Morales v. Morales, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, clarified the standard by which child support may be modified. The Court stated that child support modification does not require a finding of a material change of circumstances. Rather, if there is an inconsistency between the amount of the existing order and the amount that would result from application of the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, the Court must consider the modification request. When such an inconsistency exists, the Court may not simply dismiss the complaint for modification, even if the evidence does not demonstrate a material change of circumstances. 

Health Insurance and Employee Health Insurance Benefits

During your Massachusetts divorce it makes sense to understand your employee health insurance benefits, and those of your spouse or former spouse. Interestingly, we find that some people are unfamiliar with their employee benefits. This post discusses the basics about Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA).

Car Loans and Divorce in Massachusetts

Divorcing couples have plenty of important issues to resolve, including child support, custody issues, and division of property and perhaps a jointly owned home. Settling who owes what on a car loan and what to do with the car might not seem like a big deal, given the other items on the list, but it can have enduring consequences. This article answers some frequently asked questions about handling a car loan when you divorce in Massachusetts

Safeguarding Inheritance During Divorce in Massachusetts

Have you inherited a home or heirloom from your family and wondering how to protect what is yours in the event you and your spouse decide to divorce in Massachusetts? What is considered separate versus marital property when determining property division in a divorce can vary depending on the circumstances unique to your situation. However, there are steps you can take to improve your outcome in the event of a divorce.

Effects of Divorce on Property Ownership in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, married couples typically take real property as tenants by the entirety. This form of tenancy offers protection from creditors that a simple joint tenancy with rights of survivorship does not. The creditors of one spouse cannot attach or attempt to sell property held by a married couple who took the property as tenants by the entirety. With a tenancy by the entirety, one spouse may not convey his or her interest to a third party. The tenancy by entirety is only terminated by divorce, death, or by an agreement between the spouses to convert the tenancy to a tenancy in common. 

Access to Student Records by Non-Custodial Parents in Massachusetts

Regardless of a parent's legal custodial status, each parent has the right to have access to all educational records of their children pursuant to G.L. ch. 208, § 31 and G.L. ch. 71, § 34H unless the school or district has been given documentation that:

Can Divorcing Parties "Share" an Attorney in Massachusetts

Can one lawyer represent both sides in a Family Court matter? In Massachusetts, as in most states, the answer is a clear and resounding "No!" The attorney cannot effectively represent two parties with completely different goals in the same case, as the advice that the attorney gave to one spouse may be very detrimental to the other spouse. 

Tips for Enforcing Parenting Time in Massachusetts

Too many times, parents continue to fight with each other even after they have been to Court. One of the main problems faced by non-custodial parents is that of being denied their Court ordered parenting time with their children. Here are some good tips for parents faced with this situation.

Can You Deviate From the Child Support Guidelines in Massachusetts?

If you've done some research, you probably know that child support in Massachusetts is calculated by using a set of guidelines prepared by state officials. These guidelines rely on a formula to balance income and expenses and then apportion the costs of raising the child fairly between the parents. However, the formula may not produce a number that suits your particular situation and/or the parents may want to mutually agree upon a different number from that calculated by the guidelines. If that happens, can you deviate from child support guidelines?

Keeping Your Children Safe: Know When to Request Supervised Visitation

Parents who are going through separation or divorce will need to devise a plan that specifies where their children will reside, who will care for them, how often they will spend time with each parent, and under what conditions they will be permitted to visit with each parent. This plan is often referred to as a "parenting plan". In some cases the parents can create a parenting plan that is agreed upon by both parties, while in other instances the parents need the help of the court to determine the best parenting plan for their circumstances.

How Does the Family Court Value Assets and Debts in a Massachusetts Divorce Case

If you are in the midst of a Massachusetts divorce you likely understand how important the division of assets is relative to the larger divorce process. Unless children are involved, the division of assets and debts in divorce cases is almost always one of the most important and most controversial issues to surface in a Massachusetts divorce. So what's the best way to determine the value of assets and debts in divorce cases?

How Long Do You Have to Respond to Divorce Papers in Massachusetts

It can be a real shock to some people when a divorce is finally initiated. Maybe you saw it coming, but were surprised at the specific timing, or maybe you were caught completely unaware. Either way, it can take time to process what has happened and to begin mentally preparing yourself for the divorce that has now officially begun. Unfortunately, once papers have been formally filed, a clock begins to tick and you must take certain steps within allotted periods of time or risk harming your interests in the divorce. How long do you have to respond to divorce papers in Massachusetts?

Is it Time for a National Divorce Law Too?

The issue of "state's rights" has been in the news a lot recently, especially given the recent Supreme Court decision making same sex marriage legal across the country and the furor over the Confederate battle flag in South Carolina. 

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