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Worcester Family Law Blog

Co-parenting through the holiday season

As we reported in a past post, shared parenting arrangements have grown more and more common in Massachusetts and elsewhere over the past few years after research has shown that children tend to do best when both parents are actively involved in their lives.

Although co-parenting isn’t always easy, many Massachusetts moms and dads have decided to give it their best effort in order to do what’s best for their children. The holidays can be an especially difficult time for families after a divorce, which is why we will be discussing some tips for co-parents to employ during this time: 

What to expect during a divorce in Massachusetts

If you think a divorce may be in your future, you are probably feeling anxious about what to expect.

While the divorce process is probably less scary than you are imagining, it is a formal court process that has many requirements under the law. Knowing a little more about the process might help to put your mind at ease.

Here is a brief summary of the contested divorce process under Massachusetts law:

The unique issues that apply in military family law cases

In honor of Veteran’s Day, today we will discuss a few issues that are special to military divorce and family law cases. Overall, the divorce process for military members and their spouses is the same as it is for everyone else; however, there are a few unique factors that apply.

For one, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act (USFSPA) is a federal statute that allows state courts to consider military retirement and pension plans as property instead of income so that the service member’s retirement pay can be divided between the spouses during the divorce. 

All is not fair in love and divorce

In some contested divorce cases, battling spouses are willing to do just about anything to get back at their exes. However, as a recent article in the Huffington Post explained, all is not fair in love and divorce. There is some bad behavior that may be tempting but can lead to serious repercussions.

Here are several examples from the article of actions no spouse should ever take during divorce:

Don’t get tripped up by these divorce traps

Going through a divorce is usually not an easy process. Not only do you have to deal with all of the emotional turmoil that comes along with ending a marriage, your financial wellbeing is also at stake.

For that reason, it’s crucial to avoid these common “divorce traps” that trip up many people during the divorce process.

Divorce Trap No. 1: Not having accurate information on your finances. One of the most important steps of divorce is the division of marital property. If you fail to have accurate information on all of your marital assets and debts there is no way that you can end up with a settlement that is fair. 

How to co-parent with a narcissist

When it comes to co-parenting, there are many different family dynamics. Some Massachusetts parents may easily co-parent after divorce, while others may have constant fights and issues that come up.

One situation that some people find themselves in is having to deal with a narcissistic ex. There are many characteristics that make up a narcissist. As one divorce coach explains, they have a tendency to blame those around them for their misfortunes as well as take stabs at people to get a reaction out of them. In many cases they lack empathy and will not understand another person’s point of view no matter how hard you try to explain it.

Does child support end when child gets married?

The Boston Herald recently addressed an interesting and somewhat complicated issue within family law: child support duties for college-aged adult children. The column featured an even more interesting twist by adding marriage and divorce into the picture.

First, let’s start with the basics. As the column explained, under Massachusetts law, parents can be responsible for child support until the child reaches the age of 21 so long as the child is still financially dependent on the parents and living with one of the parents. The support obligation can extend until the child is 23 if the child is in college.

Massachusetts alimony orders pre-dating the 2012 reform

Last week, we discussed how Massachusetts’ alimony laws were reformed in 2012 and, among other things, were changed to allow alimony payments to stop once the paying-spouse reached retirement.

Of course, with the reform came many questions about how the changes would affect alimony orders that were already in effect. This week, the state’s highest court considered whether spouses who were ordered to pay alimony before the reform took place also get to cease making payments once they retire.

What are the alimony rules in Massachusetts?

On March 1, 2012, Massachusetts became one of the first states to establish comprehensive alimony reform. In a unanimous decision, the state legislature approved a bill that almost eliminates permanent alimony awards and creates specific alimony durations for marriages lasting 20 years or less.

For example, in marriages lasting less than five years, alimony will not be awarded for longer than half the time the marriage lasted. In marriages lasting longer than 10 years but less than 15 years, alimony can last no longer than 70 percent of the number of months the marriage lasted.

What’s the difference between a prenup and a postnup?

You have probably heard the term prenuptial agreement in the past and know that it refers to a contract entered by a couple prior to marriage that lays out terms such as property division and alimony if a divorce should occur. But did you know there are also postnuptial agreements? These are similar contracts that take place after the couple has already entered the marriage.

Ultimately, the only difference between a prenup and a postnup is when the contract is signed.

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