Is a house purchased by one spouse prior to the marriage a marital asset for divorce purposes?

The determination of which assets are part of the marital estate for division of asset purposes during the divorce is not always a simple cut and dried answer. There are many factors that the Court takes into consideration when deciding if a specific property is part of the marital estate and, if so, how it gets divides during the divorce. The short and simple answer is that the marital home can be included as part of your divorce settlement even if it was purchased prior to the marriage or relationship by one spouse. There are a wide range of factors
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Am I Allowed to Date if My Divorce is Pending?

Divorce can be a lengthy process, and for many divorcing couples, the marriage is over emotionally long before a divorce is legally pursued. It’s not uncommon for a spouse to consider dating while their divorce is pending. The short answer to the question ‘to date or not to date’ is that there is no law in Massachusetts that prevents spouses from dating after separating or divorcing. So yes, you are allowed to date when your divorce is pending. However, before diving into the dating pool, you should be aware of the potential legal and financial consequences. Keep in mind, under
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What is co-parenting, and how do we do it once we are divorced?

Co-parenting describes a parenting relationship in which the two parents of a child are not romantically involved but still assume joint responsibility for their child’s upbringing. The extent to which parents can effectively co-parent significantly impacts how children will adjust to the transitions associated with a separation or divorce. Parents are responsible for major-life decisions, like those concerning religion, discipline, finances, morality, recreation, physical health, education, and emergencies. Whether married or divorced, agreement on these matters can differ but should be discussed and made jointly. It’s not uncommon for parents to be uncooperative with one another during a divorce. This
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My ex is refusing to pay court-ordered support. What can I do?

When a divorce is finalized, a divorce decree outlines essential information about the court’s decision. A divorce decree is an enforceable order by the court that both parties are legally mandated to follow. Items outlined can include payment of child support or spousal support, a transfer of property, or specific visitation schedules. Unfortunately, too often, parties neglect or elect to ignore the outlined orders. This can greatly harm a party who is dependent on support or waiting to receive assets being divided. While the penalties to the offending party for these transgressions can be severe (financial sanctions, payment of filing party’s attorney’s fees), the
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Asset Division in a Divorce

Divorce is as much a financial shock as it is an emotional one. Alimony and child support may take a substantial out of your monthly paycheck. The paying spouse may think that the amount they are paying seems unfair or extremely high while the receiving spouse feels it is not fair or extremely insufficient. The reality is that there is never as much money after a divorce because it is the same gross income of the parties to support two households instead of one. Whether you were the primary wage earner or if your income is much smaller than your
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My spouse and I have just moved to Massachusetts from another state. Do we need to get our marriage license transferred to Massachusetts?

Moving to another state can be a legally frustrating process. Aside from the logistics and expense of moving your possessions across state lines, you will likely find yourself waiting in line or on the phone with government offices as you transfer the legal documents that make up your life. Vehicle registration and title, voter registration, insurance policies and more must be transferred. Luckily, marriage licenses issued by one state are valid in all forty-nine others. A number of court cases have affirmed that one state must recognize a marriage license issued by another. Most famous are Loving v. Virginia, which
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What is the difference between a fault and no-fault divorce?

Under the law, a divorce is the legal process for dissolving or ending a marriage. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the grounds for divorce are either based on fault grounds or as a no-fault divorce. A no-fault divorce does not require parties to prove blame for the breakdown of the marriage. Neither party is determined to be at fault. A no-fault divorce is based on an irretrievable breakdown of the marital relationship. This is the legal phrase that shows that a marriage is broken beyond repair and there is no possibility of reconciliation. Either or both parties can file to
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What makes a Will Valid? Do I need an attorney to make an official Will?

A Will, is a legal document created by an individual to distribute property and provide instruction about how they would like their final wishes to be carried out after their death. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, if a person dies without a Will, state law determine how and to whom the person’s assets will be distributed. This process is referred to as intestacy law, and the court’s distribution of a person’s estate cannot be disputed by the beneficiaries. This is why having a Will is one of the most important legal documents a person can create. To be considered a
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What are the benefits of choosing mediation over litigation in a divorce?

When many people think of divorce, custody battles, endless legal filings, and costly court proceedings come to mind. The whole divorce process can seem more daunting, and perhaps even more painful, than the emotional aspects of a marriage’s dissolution. But what if there was another way? Another, more humane, more gentle, less expensive way to handle the dissolution of a marriage? There is: mediation. Not every divorce has to be a highly contested litigious “War of the Roses” situation. Mediation is typically less stressful and less expensive than a divorce trial, and it usually proceeds much faster. Because you and
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Should I take the Breathalyzer test when pulled over and what if I refuse?

This particular question is not as easy to answer as it may seem.  If a driver refuses to take the Breathalyzer test, it is an automatic 6 month license suspension. Drivers under age 21 face a 3 year license suspension. Drivers with prior OUI offenses on their record face increased sanctions between 3 years and a lifetime loss depending on how many priors you have. There are no hardship licenses for  suspensions resulting from breath test refusals. If you take and fail the test, there is a 30 days license suspension. The suspension for a failed test is significantly less
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