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Underemployed Husband At Time Of Divorce

Representing the Wife.   The parties were married for over 22 years at the commencement of the action and had two children, ages 15 and 11, with special needs.  The matter was tried.  The court found that the Husband dissipated marital assets including retirement funds and was underemployed at the time of the divorce.  The Husband demonstrated little if any interest in the children.  The Wife received a substantially greater share of the marital estate and was granted sole legal and physical custody of the minor children, after trial.

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My Kids Hate the Custody Arrangement – What Can I Do to Make Their Voices Heard?

Even in the best of circumstances, divorce can be difficult for children. Children are often resistant to change: adapting to new schedules and surroundings, learning to live with one parent at a time, and getting along with possible new stepsiblings or half-siblings are all big changes, ones which can challenge a child’s developing social skills and coping mechanisms. However, many, if not most, children with divorced parents eventually adapt and thrive, growing into healthy and well-adjusted adults. There are cases, however, where a child’s discomfort with a custody arrangement goes beyond natural resistance to change, beyond the fairly standard complaints of “I don’t like it here” or “I like dad’s house better.” Perhaps there is serious, ongoing, and frequent conflict between the child and one of the custodial parents, a conflict that makes living with that parent a deeply anxious situation for the child. Perhaps the conflict is with a stepparent or stepsibling and a child’s grades are dropping as a result of the distress. Conflict and negative situations are not the only reason to consider modifying a custody agreement, however. Perhaps, at the other end of the spectrum, a mom can now spend more time with her children because of a promotion that allows her more control over her schedule. Or perhaps a ten-year-old custody agreement no longer works for a fledgling teenager because she prefers to live at her mom’s house as it is considerably closer to her new high school than dad’s, allowing her to participate in

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Don’t Fall Victim to Hidden Assets During Divorce

When it comes to divorce in Massachusetts, everything related to finances must be fully disclosed. This includes every single asset, purchased together or otherwise, as well as all accumulated debts. Each spouse is instructed to report known findings through a financial affidavit. It is against the law to purposely hide, understate, or overstate assets, as well as any marital property, debt, income, or expense. In extreme cases, this can potentially lead to the withholding party being sentenced to serve time in jail. If you suspect your spouse of attempting to hide assets, it’s imperative to retain a divorce lawyer who has significant experience discovering hidden or undervalued assets. A top-notch Massachusetts divorce lawyer will know the tricks used to hide assets and work with forensic accountants, investigators, and other experts to uncover these attempts to mislead the system. Some common methods of hiding assets are outlined below. Overpaying the IRS Spouses who anticipate that their divorces will be finalized during the next tax season have been caught intentionally overpaying the IRS. If undetected, this gives them a way to shelter money and provide them with a head start on the following year’s taxes once the divorce becomes final. Selling Assets to Friends Be wary of transactions made between a spouse and a close friend or confidante. This is a tactic commonly used to hide assets whereby an arrangement is made to return or ‘sell back’ assets following divorce finalization. Delaying Financial Gains It is not uncommon for a spouse expecting

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Mistakes to Avoid During Alimony Negotiations

As a Massachusetts resident going through a divorce, you’re not alone. No matter your reason for divorce, one of the most contentious issues that arise in any divorce is the subject of alimony. Alimony payments—also known in some states as “spousal support” or “maintenance” is the legal obligation that a supporting spouse pay to the supported spouse. Massachusetts courts generally award alimony to the lower-earning spouse so that spouse can maintain a reasonable standard of living during and after divorce. In the commonwealth of Massachusetts, several types of alimony can be awarded. They are called rehabilitative, reimbursement, transitional, and general alimony. When a spouse is in need of additional education or job training to become financially independent, rehabilitative alimony can be awarded for up to five years. Reimbursement alimony may be ordered as compensation to a spouse who financially supported the family while completing an education or job training during the marriage. For short-term marriages, those lasting less than five years, the court may award transitional alimony to help the recipient spouse adjust to a new lifestyle or location. General alimony may be ordered by the court, depending on the length of your marriage. More times than not, one spouse will have to pay the other a set amount of money, at least temporarily. Both parties should be aware of the following mistakes. Mistake #1 Many people are under the false assumption that if they spend a lot of money before going to court, they will have to pay less.

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Is it legal to videotape my spouse behaving badly (verbal or physical abuse, infidelity, etc) as evidence in a divorce case?

As thoughts turn towards divorce, tempers can flare and people may behave in ways they normally would not be proud of, even in a relatively amicable situation. Of course, the bad behavior of a spouse—ranging from neglect of household duties to infidelity to abusive actions—may well have begun long before the divorce, and may well be the reason for it. In seeking a favorable divorce settlement, one that compensates you for violations of the marriage contract and shields you from your spouse’s ongoing bad behavior, you will want to have evidence to bolster your claims. In a world of smart phones, where everyone has both a video camera and a broadcasting station in their pockets, you may be tempted to record your spouse’s bad behavior. In a word: don’t. Massachusetts laws on recording interactions between persons are possibly the strictest in the nation. While many states have “two-party consent” laws, meaning that both (or all) people on a recording must know they are being recorded and consent to it, the Commonwealth takes it a step further. Recording private conversations falls under Massachusetts statute chapter 272, section 99, also known as the wiretap statute. Explicitly instituted as a measure against organized crime, the statute is of theoretical interest to law students because it addresses both police and civilian conduct with regard to recording in the same law. For civilians, there is an explicit ban on recording wire communications (i.e. phone conversations) and a ban on any audio recording by other means

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When mediation may be your best option in divorce

Divorce, while never easy, does not have to be an ordeal. For couples who wish to amicably end their marriages, there are a number of processes available that do not involve a combative mindset and are designed to minimize conflict in favor of compromise. One of the most common processes that aim for a more cooperative dissolution of a marriage is mediation. Mediation is the non-adversarial divorce process most familiar to the general public. In mediation, a couple meets with a third party to discuss the division of assets, custody issues, alimony, and any and all other issues that need to be settled in the course of a divorce. With an agreement in place, the couple files for divorce in the courts. How, then, does a couple choose the best course when seeking to end their marriage without going through a lengthy and costly bout of litigation? While every couple and family’s situation is unique, if your working relationship with your spouse is professional and your separation truly is amicable, mediation may be the best option for you. Mediation has many factors in its favor. With the couple using one mediator, together, it is possible for them to split the costs. Along with a generally lower hourly rate, mediation offers couples more control over the scheduling of sessions and the total time frame of the process than litigation in the courts. Mediation is intended to reduce conflict by encouraging the calm and constructive expression of needs and wants. It is

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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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