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Cross harassment orders by dueling neighbors

At the commencement of the case, only one party ultimately obtaining an order against the other, at which point, Attorney Gabriel was retained by the unsuccessful party.  Motions for re-hearing and motions to vacate the order were presented and allowed by the court.  After a second evidentiary hearing was granted, our client was allowed to present further evidence and witness, we were successful in having the vacated order reinstated.  Ultimately both orders were vacated retroactively.

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Post-Divorce Custody and Child Support Modification

Representing the former husband.  The parties were married for 22 years.   At the time of the divorce and in all proceedings thereafter, Father was represented by Attorney Gabriel. The parties had four children.  The Father was ordered to pay a substantial amount of weekly child support to the Mother.  A permanent alimony waiver was negotiated through the divorce action, whereby Mother received an additional sum from the Father’s share of the proceeds from the sale of the martial home and forever waived alimony.  After the divorce, Father filed a modification seeking a change in custody of two of the parties’ four children.   The matter went to trial. Father was successful and his child support obligation was reduced.   Thereafter, Father filed a second complaint for modification seeking custody of the parties’ two youngest children.  The matter proceeded to trial.  Father’ complaint for modification was successful. Father’s child support obligation was terminated and Mother was ordered to pay child support to Father.

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Small Business Subject to Division of Assets in Divorce

Representing husband.  Long term marriage.  Husband was a state employee. Wife owned and operated a successful family business which was a marital asset, subject to division.  Parties each engaged valuation experts for purposes of determining income and value of wife’s business. Extensive discovery conducted.  Valuation and income assessment, including determination of various perquisites received by wife, resulted in favorable settlement for husband, in lieu of trial.

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Complaint for Modification

Representing husband.  Defending against former wife’s Complaint for Modification, seeking sole legal custody and supervised restricted parenting for former husband.  The parties had minor children.  The court appointed a guardian ad litem with authority to make recommendations to the court regarding the care and custody of the minor children.   The matter went to trial which lasted 8 days.  The guardian ad litem (GAL) was strongly in favor of the wife’s position.  Father’s parenting time was severely restricted during the pendency of the action.  Extensive cross examination of the GAL, resulting in severely diminished credibility.  At the conclusion of the trial Father’s parenting time and legal custody were restored to pre modification status.

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Don’t Be Blindsided By The Division of Marital Property in Your Divorce

Many people fail to realize divorce requires more than simply signing a few documents. If you’re divorcing in Massachusetts, don’t be blindsided by the many decisions you’re about to face regarding the division of your marital property. Not all property is valued or taxed in the same way; therefore, the process can be long and confusing without the help of a knowledgeable attorney at your side. It’s important to consider that even though different financial accounts are valued at the same amount, the account owner may receive different withdraw amounts. This is because withdrawals will not be taxed in the same way from a money market, for example, as other accounts would be. The division of retirement accounts can be particularly daunting. There are currently no tax codes or other regulations in place regarding IRA accounts. This has allowed courts to permit IRAs to be divided between divorcing couples. Regarding real estate property, if one spouse is granted full control of the marital home, for example, or vacation properties, then he or she is usually expected to pay taxes on those properties as well. Debt is another matter you will need to be well-informed about when dividing property. No matter who is awarded the property, debt owed is still the responsibility of both parties, if the property was jointly owned. This means in the event the awarded party cannot fulfill payment obligations, the bank or other entity holding the debt will expect the second named party to fulfill payment obligations.

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What is Collaborative Divorce?

More and more couples, facing divorce or legal separation, are already turning away from contentious court proceedings and long-lived litigation to legal mediation. Yet, there is a third option, separate from litigation and mediation: the collaborative divorce process. This method is only a few decades old, but it already boasts a worldwide network of legal practitioners. Mediation involves a couple meeting with a trained and licensed mediator to work out the terms of their divorce, consulting separately with their respective attorneys and financial professionals as needed. On the other hand, collaborative family law involves the two partners’ attorneys meeting directly and separately from their clients. This approach can be beneficial when clients do not trust themselves to talk directly with each other, or where there is a concern about spousal abuse. The “collaborative” in the collaborative divorce process refers to attorneys working together to create an agreement in the best interest of both their clients. Collaborative family law has a scope beyond that of divorce cases. It can also help cohabiting couples separate, or with post-divorce financial issues that arise such as college tuition or support for adult children. Though it is not widely known in public consciousness, collaborative family law practice is not fringe, nor is it risky. Thousands of families worldwide have benefited from the collaborative divorce process in a way they would not have if they had undergone mediation or litigation. The collaborative divorce process originated in the Midwest United States in the early 1990s. Over the

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What factors do courts consider when determining child custody?

Courts primarily base their decision on what is in the child’s best interest, using the Child’s Best Interest Standard. Factors vary from state to state, but the overall goal is to make a decision that promotes the health and wellbeing of the child. Parents are encouraged to come to an agreement on matters of child custody and visitation to submit to the court. However, if the judge finds the settlement agreement is not in the child’s best interest, it can be rejected. Courts will generally determine the stability of each parent’s home environment and their interest and commitment to caring for the child. Other factors include the health of each parent, both physical and mental; the special needs of the child, if any; the child’s own wishes if they are old enough to say so; whether there is evidence of illicit drug use, or drug/alcohol abuse; and adjustment to the community, such as where they go to school, proximity to other caretakers, etc. In Massachusetts, the best interests of the child are the overriding guiding principle for judges making custody decisions. State law also says that the child’s “happiness and welfare” are paramount and that the parents’ rights are equal unless a parent has been found to be currently unfit. Child custody cases can be complicated and always require extensive knowledge of family law. When facing a child custody issue, you will probably have several questions. Please call our office for experienced advice regarding your family law concerns.

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What is the difference between a fault and no-fault divorce?

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the grounds for divorce depends on whether you decide on a no-fault or fault divorce. A no-fault divorce does not require parties to prove blame for the breakdown of the marriage. Either or both parties can file to begin the process for a no-fault divorce merely pleading that the marriage is beyond repair, and it is time to move on. The ground for this action is “irretrievable breakdown of marriage”. A fault divorce is more involved. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you have the option of filing for divorce and claiming one person is to blame for the failure of the marriage. Common grounds for a fault divorce include cruelty and abuse, desertion for one year or more, adultery, impotence, excessive use of drugs or alcohol, failure to provide support or maintenance, and sentences of five years or more in a penal institution. Proving a fault divorce can be difficult. It is recommended the accusing party have solid proof of any fault grounds. Make sure to consult with a knowledgeable attorney before taking any divorce action to understand your options. Contact our office to have your questions answered today.

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