Why you should hold off on romance until your divorce is final

Many people going through a divorce can’t even think about the possibility of dating again. However, what if you meet the person you truly believe could be the new love of your life? Even if you’re emotionally ready to become involved in a new relationship, doing so could harm your divorce and custody negotiations. If you begin a new relationship, your estranged spouse could become more difficult to deal with. Even if he or she too is seeing someone else, people’s feelings on these matters aren’t always rational. You’re risking making your negotiations regarding property division and spousal support more difficult. Speaking of spousal support, if you begin living with someone, you won’t be entitled to any. Even if you just have an occasional sleepover, why give your ex reason to argue that you and your new love are cohabitating? It’s important to know that Massachusetts maintains some of its puritanical laws from centuries past. Although it’s rarely prosecuted, adultery is considered a felony here. If you’re seeking a lump-sum settlement rather than payments over time, your spouse may be less willing to go along with that plan if he or she thinks that you’ll soon be cohabitating or remarrying. If you have kids, getting into a new relationship, or even casual dating, soon after a separation can be distressing and confusing for them. They need their parents now more than ever (even if they tell you otherwise). While it’s important to be personally happy and fulfilled, your focus should

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Social media rants may affect alimony and child support

Social media, Facebook in particular, has become an integrated part of the lives of many Massachusetts residents. Some of us have become so accustomed to sharing our lives online that we update and post almost automatically, with very little thought given to what could happen to that information once it is out of our hands. However, when it comes to issues surrounding one’s divorce, posting is not the best policy, and can actually have serious ramifications for issues such as child support and alimony. Even if you think that your former partner does not or cannot see your Facebook activity, this is not the place to air your grievances about the marriage or divorce. If you make comments online that can be proven false, such as claiming that your ex is not meeting his or her child support obligations, the other party can sue you for libel. Also consider the long-term ramifications; if you post negative things about the other spouse and he or she loses a job because of it, their ability to pay child support or alimony could be severely limited, and they could approach the court to ask for a reduced amount. Another thing to remember is that Facebook is forever. What you write, can almost always be recovered and brought to the attention of a court, even if you have erased it from your news feed. That heightens the risk that a child may one day read the negative things you said about the other parent.

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Why don’t men get alimony more often?

Though many people often think of men as the main breadwinners for the family unit in the vast majority of cases, recent studies show that this is largely an outdated mode of thinking. In reality, roughly 40 percent of households have women as the main earners. When it comes to alimony, there are about 400,000 people in the country being paid. Out of that, a tiny 3 percent are men. When considering this with the 40 percent figure above, it stands to reason that a lot of men could be asking for and receiving alimony, but they’re simply not doing it. Why not? There are many reasons. Experts have noted that the following show up often: — Gender roles that just won’t go away: As noted, many people automatically assume that men should be the main providers, despite the real-world statistics, so men may not consider asking for alimony. — Pride: One man said that he would never hit a woman or beg for her help, and he felt like alimony was no better than begging. Despite the fact that his wife made more than $100,000 a year, he didn’t ask for alimony and instead got help from his parents. — Sexist judges: In some cases, a man may fully be qualified for alimony, and a judge may have ruled that it should be paid if the roles were reversed, but the judge allows bias to sway his or her decision, refusing to give alimony to the man. In some

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What judges consider regarding alimony

If you’ve asked for alimony in your divorce filing or filed a Complaint for Alimony after the fact, you’re probably wondering how much you can get and how a judge determines what should be paid out. Every situation is a bit different — there is no strict law saying a set level of alimony must be paid — so the judge has to look at a variety of factors and make a specific ruling in every case. Some of these factors include the following: — How long you and your spouse were married before getting divorced.– How old you are and how old your spouse is; this is important when determining if you can still enter the workforce and earn money yourself.– Your overall health and the health of your spouse.– The contributions you both made to the marriage, both economic and non-economic.– Any economic opportunities that one of you gave up when getting married.– Your current income levels.– Your employment situation and your ability to be employed going forward.– What each of you needs to keep the same standard of living. Essentially, the court is just trying to figure out what it will take for both of you to keep living the way you were before the split. If you quit your job 20 years ago and have little hope of gainful employment, for example, because you thought your spouse would be there to support you, the court wants to provide some support even though you’re divorcing, as you

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How much can be taken through wage garnishment?

If your ex is ordered to pay alimony or child support and then he or she does not pay, wage garnishment can sometimes be used to get back the money that is owed. This is a preferred method because the wages are garnished before they pass from the employer to the employee, so there is no way for your ex to stop that money from coming to you. It is important to know that there are some limits on wage garnishment that are set up by Title III of the Consumer Credit Protection Act. You’re not likely going to get all of the money that is owed at once. The two basic limits are: — 50 percent of the total personal earnings. This can be done if your ex has remarried and then he or she is supporting the second family. If your spouse is supporting a child, the 50 percent limit is also used. — 60 percent of the total personal earnings. This limit is used when your ex is not married and does not have a child or a family to support. In addition, it’s important to note that an extra 5 percent could be added on to the above if the payment totals have been in arrears for at least 12 weeks. This means the maximum total that could be reached is 65 percent of the earnings from each paycheck. As you can see, the amount that can be deducted is quite significant and could have a

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What does rehabilitative alimony mean?

As its name may suggest, rehabilitative alimony is when one spouse makes payments to the other in order to help the receiving spouse get back on his or her feet after divorce. Its main purpose is to help the receiving spouse become employable and self-sufficient. Rehabilitative alimony is awarded for a predetermined amount of time after which the payments will cease. Rehabilitative alimony may be awarded without regard to how long the marriage lasted, but a judge will look at the length of the marriage when making a determination. Five years is the longest period a spouse can receive this kind of spousal support. In many cases a judge may award rehabilitative alimony when one spouse has been absent from the Massachusetts workforce for a long time. Other times, it may be awarded if a spouse is overcoming an injury or illness and needs financial assistance while recovering. The amount of rehabilitative alimony may undergo changes if the paying spouse loses a job or if one spouse experiences a significant change in income. If certain circumstances mandate the need, a judge may consider extending rehabilitative alimony. These circumstances include: — An unexpected event that delays the receiving spouse’s self-sufficiency — The receiving spouse has made every effort to become self-sufficient but is still experiencing hardships — And, the paying spouse will not suffer financial hardships from an alimony extension In many situations, rehabilitative alimony is good for both spouses. However, any time spousal support is an issue it is a

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Using a divorce lawyer may be the best way to reach a divorce agreement

Deciding to file for a divorce is a major decision for most couples. With many online solutions available, it is not uncommon for Massachusetts couples to think that they can handle their own divorce. However, they are often unprepared for the many stumbling blocks they may face without the guidance and support of an experienced divorce attorney. When minor children are involved, child custody and parenting plan agreements must be reached and submitted for court approval. Another area of a divorce that may prove to be more challenging than initially thought is property division. Under Massachusetts laws of equitable distribution, couples may decide on how to divide their assets, as long as it is done in a fair manner and carries the approval of the court. This is where unexpected contention often arises. After navigating these aspects, spousal support and child support will have to be determined. In Massachusetts, regardless of whether a divorce attorney is retained or a couple decides to handle their divorce themselves, there are specific waiting periods. The waiting periods between filing the divorce complain and the court hearing are dependent on the type of divorce filing (contested or uncontested). After the final hearing, another waiting period must be observed before a final divorce decree is issued. Considering the complexity of all the issues, many Massachusetts couples choose to utilize the services of an experienced divorce attorney to avoid stumbling blocks. David M. Gabriel and Associates can guide each client to reach a divorce agreement that

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Can I end my alimony in Massachusetts?

Alimony can be a stressful and frustrating hardship. Many people in Massachusetts are curious about whether alimony can be terminated. Here are some general rules for receiving and ceasing alimony. A judge decides who can change general term alimony based upon a number of factors and guidelines, unless there is a written agreement incorporated into a divorce judgment which states that alimony shall remain unchanged and the agreement “survives” the judgment. Alimony may be terminated in a variety of circumstances, including if; 1) The recipient remarries 2) Either spouse passes away 3) The spouse who is paying alimony reaches full retirement age, the alimony term reaches its durational limit based upon the length of the marriage or if the recipient spouse lives with another individual and they share common finances. In Massachusetts, alimony is a key factor with many divorce negotiations. People often rely spousal support to meet their needs and living expenses. Likewise, those who pay alimony often do not believe that their former spouses should be receiving benefits and alimony should terminate. Former spouses may wish to file complaints for modification to increase, decrease or terminate their alimony. If you have an additional question regarding alimony or spousal support, contacting David M. Gabriel & would be beneficial to your case.

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