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Worcester Family Law Blog

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.

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.

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