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Westborough Family Law Blog

How is property divided in a divorce?

Question: My husband and I have separated and are talking about getting the divorce process started. Both of us were older when we were married and already had 401k's and other retirement savings. I also received 10K from my grandmother's estate recently, which I have in a separate bank account. Lastly, we have purchased quite a bit of stocks and bonds over the years--we used my ex's inheritance to purchase many of them, though they are in both our names.

Answer: It's important that you start your new life on a firm financial footing. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts uses the legal doctrine of "equitable division." In addition, Massachusetts recognizes that all property of the parties, whether individually or jointly owned, is subject to division in a divorce. Let's look at how those apply to you.

What is considered in relocation cases?

Child custody disputes can be particularly difficult when the prospect of relocation arises. It is fairly common for a parent to want to move to another city to pursue a new job, or simply to start a new life. Indeed, the prospect of this can be emotionally painful for the parent left behind.

Depending on the nature of the relationship, a custodial parent may have to seek the court’s permission before executing a move. If a child is born of a marriage or a parenting time order exists, a custodial parent generally has to petition the court and serve the other parent. After all, Massachusetts law gives parents the right to contest moves that will substantially impact existing parenting time.

Should you be first to the courthouse?

Many potential divorcees may wonder if there are any advantages to being the first to file for divorce. After all, no one wants to be the spouse who is blindsided by a divorce petition. Besides being able to avoid the emotional anguish of being served out of the blue, there are some legal and financial advantages to being the first to the courthouse. This post will identify a few.

Having the proper documents together – One tactical advantage is having all the relevant financial documents in your possession, thus likely reducing the need for costly discovery requests. By having the most recent bank statements, brokerage statements and insurance policies, you can paint an accurate financial picture without being on the defensive.

Parenting time difficulties at Halloween

With Halloween less than three weeks away, it is important for divorced and separated parents to think about what parenting time will be like on their child’s second favorite night of the year (with Christmas Eve likely being their favorite). Basically, parents who share custody must be on the same page when it comes to parenting time on Halloween.

For some parents, it may be fairly easy to determine who will take the child trick-or-treating. It may also be as simple as designating an afternoon for a Halloween party in one parent’s neighborhood (or with their family) while trick-or-treating on Halloween night may be done in the other parent’s neighborhood. 

What to think about before a settlement conference

If you are in the midst of a divorce, or have recently filed a petition for dissolution, chances are that you will be required to take part in a settlement conference. For those unfamiliar with this type of meeting, it is similar to mediation, in that it is an opportunity for the parties to sit down and see if any of them can be resolved.

Family courts strongly support these opportunities given the high cost of protracted litigation, and because it gives warring couples a chance to preserve relationships that they will need in the future.

How to cut costs in a divorce

If you feel like you should not spend more on your divorce than you did with your wedding, you are in good company. Few people really want to spend the money it takes to go through a litigated divorce. Indeed, your emotions may lead you to believe that a divorce has to be a war, but it doesn't have to be that way. After all, if faced with the prospect of saving money so that you can begin your post divorce life financially stable, why not do so?

With that said, it is important to make sure you take opportunities to reduce the cost of divorce. This post will highlight a few ways you can do so. 

Should you plan for the holidays now?

With Labor Day behind us, retailers are putting out Halloween decorations and candy even though the end of October is still more than a month away. Even more troubling (or exciting depending on your sensibilities) some retailers are already making holiday decorations available.

Why is it important to plan for the holidays so far in advance?

Back to school may be a good time to review custody arrangements

It's back! Autumnal weather, backpacks, new schoolbooks and new schedules. Extracurricular activities can send kids and parents in many directions. New friendships can blossom around the corner or across town. Transportation can turn into an Olympic sport for some parents -- especially those that co-parent.

As schedules change, so do family needs

How to keep your retirement savings intact during your divorce

You worked hard for years to ensure that you and your spouse would have enough money to get you through your retirement. Things may suddenly change if you and your spouse decide to get a divorce.

The costs of divorce, especially if contested, combined with your regular life expenses, may make you want to dip into your retirement savings. However, doing so may end up costing you even more money.

How to make changes to your child custody and parenting schedule

Once your divorce or paternity action is finalized, you and the other parent will receive a judgment that includes specific terms regarding custody of your children and parenting time.

This may be the result of an agreement the two of you reached, or it may be a Judge's decision. This judgment will specify where the children will primarily reside and detail how the children's time will be split between the parents.


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