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Worcester Family Law Blog

Steps to obtain financial independence from an abuser, part 2

Last week, we began discussing a Time Magazine article that provides several steps for victims of abuse to take in effort to gain financial independence from an abuser.

The topic came to light after recent news events inspired victims of abuse to share their reasons for staying with their abusers on social media using the hashtag #WhyIStayed. As it turned out, many abuse victims stayed in marriages and relationships because they were financially dependent on the abuser. 

Steps to obtain financial independence from an abuser, part 1

The issue of domestic violence was thrust into the media spotlight this week after video surfaced online of former Baltimore Ravens football star Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancée, now-wife, Janay Palmer. The shocking video, which was caught by an elevator surveillance camera at a casino in February, showed Rice punching Palmer in the head and knocking her out cold.

Video footage from a different surveillance camera at the casino was released less than a week after the incident and showed Rice dragging his fiancée out of the elevator, her body limp. However, it was the recently-released violent video that caused outrage, including questions over why Rice was only suspended for two games by the NFL and how Palmer could go on to marry Rice after the incident.

Child support basics in Massachusetts

Massachusetts law provides that children have the right to receive financial support from their parents, irrespective of whether the child's parents are divorced or never married, and child support consists of court-ordered payments that are to assist with the costs of raising a child. Child support usually lasts until the child in question is 18 years old, but it can be extended to the age of 20 if the child is still in high school.

Child support can be set up in a variety of ways, including through an agreement between the parents of the child or by a judge's decree during a divorce or other family law proceeding. However, the majority of child support is set up through a process involving filling out an Application for Full Child Support Services and submitting it to a local office of the Department of Revenue.

Divorce concerns for those over 50

When facing the possibility of the end of a marriage, there are many things that people have to take into consideration. In addition to the emotional impact, there are financial concerns that could potentially cripple Massachusetts individuals seeking a divorce. This is especially true of those over the age of 50, who are reportedly part of a growing demographic.

Getting divorced when over the age of 50 can create a unique set of concerns. While divorce can be emotionally traumatic for anyone involved, those over 50 have additional financial concerns. Two unique issues that individuals who divorce later in life may face are retirement and Social Security benefits. In respect to Social Security benefits, it is reported that it may be possible to collect a portion of those benefits, provided that the couple had been married for at least 10 years and the individual is over the age of 62.

Military family law and child custody disputes

Child custody orders in Massachusetts can require extensive conversation and court analysis to determine what the best situation may be for a child. A person that is on active duty and attempting to settle a custody arrangement may choose to use military family law to help ensure that their case is handled appropriately. Military family law can help use specific legal standards to enable a fair negotiation and neutralize contention in the event that a military parent is not immediately available.

Military mothers and fathers who are on active duty while in the midst of a custody dispute may have anxiety regarding their rights while they are out of touch. The ability to appear in court or respond to court documents is limited when a person is serving, making it difficult to understand where their case is. Some people may question whether proceedings may be put on hold or temporarily halted in their absence.

Considering benefits in a Massachusetts divorce

In the last two decades, the baby boomer generation has been described as hosting the highest rate of divorce in America. For aging spouses in Massachusetts who will soon be ending their marriage, they may face certain changes to their benefits that could impact their financial security post-divorce. These benefits can include personal investments and savings as well as Social Security and company-provided retirement contributions.

Some benefits exist to help support spouses who may have been primarily dependent on the income of their partner before the end of the marriage. Although different Social Security benefits may be available, it may be important for a person to determine which may be the highest form of support when planning for one's financial future following the end of a marriage. Social Security and other investments or benefits may not be enough to provide financial security for some people after separating.

Managing finances during and after a Massachusetts divorce

A Massachusetts couple that has made the decision to divorce after a lengthy marriage may question their financial future independent from one another. Some people may have not ever had the opportunity to earn an income or manage money for their family and may have anxiety regarding their capability. Taking the steps to secure finances and manage funds for children or retirement during the divorce process could impact the future.

It can be intimidating for a person to end a marriage that has lasted decades or the majority of one's life. A spouse who has stayed at home with children, allowing the family to rely solely on the income of the other, may have fears about supporting the children. When children have special needs or handicaps, this fear can be even greater. Determining the best way to secure assets and receive a fair settlement in a divorce can be overwhelming for many people.

Celebrity divorce in 2014 includes Crocodile Dundee Paul Hogan

The past seven months have been active with high-profile celebrity divorces. As famous couples choose to end their marriages, they face many of the same issues and difficulties that an average Massachusetts family may experience. Recently, Paul Hogan and Linda Hogan -- formerly Linda Kozlowski -- made the decision to legally divorce and divide their Crocodile Dundee film enterprise.

In the settlement, it was decided that Paul Hogan would retain the rights to the Crocodile Dundee films and name. Although he desired sole custody of his only son with Linda Hogan, they made a joint agreement. Linda will receive just over $5.7 million without alimony, and child support will not be provided to either parent. Their property, including cars and the family home, was divided equally along with personal bank accounts.

When to set child support guidelines in Massachusetts

Dividing up financial responsibility for children can sometimes instigate strong disputes between separating parents as child custody guidelines are set. Support schedules can often be determined completely independent of custody and visitation arrangements, though payment compliance may be emotionally linked to the other. Some families in Massachusetts may need to set child support guidelines because of financial changes within the family or due to a parent not providing needed help.

A child custody dispute may continue for many months or years and can sometimes require attention as the financial position of each parent changes over time. Income and marital status, as well as career loss or advancement, could alter the monetary responsibility that a particular parent may have. Changes in health or education of the children involved could also influence an increase or decrease on support need. Disputes may also arise if the non-custodial parent is not fulfilling his or her financial obligation to the children.

When a spouse is difficult during a Massachusetts divorce

A Massachusetts divorce may occur when one or more of the people in the relationship no longer wish to be married and feel that separation is the best choice. This decision may require negotiations to divide assets as well as create the best possible custodial arrangement for any children in the family. A person may have anxiety about the potential reactions of their soon to be ex and may benefit from professional help in organizing the divorce process.

When a divorce is contested, the property division and child custody arrangements may require heightened attention. Certain personalities may attempt to make the division of assets a competition and, depending on the reasons for the divorce, may make a person feel entitled. This can cause difficulties and frustrations when trying to negotiate a settlement with a party that desires to make things painful or difficult.

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