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 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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Will I be entitled to anything when we divorce?

Additional Info:  We have been married for 6 months and I realize it was a mistake and want a divorce. We got married because I am pregnant with his child. We rent an apartment in Lowell. He has some money in savings, I do not. Attorney Answer: Once the child is born, you will be entitled to child support assuming he earns more than you and you are the primary custodial parent of the child.  With respect to asset division, this is a short term marriage, so it is likely that the Court would look to put the parties in
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Can my ex prevent me from moving out of the country with our daughter?

Additional Information: My ex and I have a 6 year old daughter.  He sees her every other weekend and occasionally during the week.  We live in Acton, MA but I have met someone who lives outside of the US and we are getting married this year.  I am also pregnant with his child.   I want to move with my daughter to be near him.  What are my legal responsibilities in this situation?  I’d still like my daughter to be able to see her biological father, but obviously it’s not going to be as frequent and can he prevent us from
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Who has visitation rights?

Recently, many states have passed laws that give grandparents certain visitation rights with a child after a divorce or after the death of the child’s parent. Predictably, this has given rise to questions about whether this right should be extended to other close relatives, such as aunts, uncles and cousins. The issue came up recently in Minnesota, when a woman asked for visitation rights with her niece – the daughter of her recently deceased identical twin sister. The woman argued that since Minnesota has a law that gives visitation rights to grandparents, it only made sense to include other family
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Can you change your children’s name after divorce?

After a couple divorced, the wife asked a court to change their two children’s last name to her maiden name. (The children had been given the husband’s last name at birth.) The judge agreed, saying that since the mother was the primary residential parent, it should be presumed that she was acting in the children’s best interests, and her decision should be respected. But the father appealed, and a higher court sided with him. The appeals court said that this result might make sense in the case of a child who was born out of wedlock. For instance, if a
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Will I be responsible for half of my wife’s school loan when we divorce?

Additional Information: My wife took out a loan so she could start her own business.   She had hoped to apply earnings toward the mortgage on our North Reading home, and stuff for the kids.  We are now getting a divorce and besides writing a business plan, she hasn’t launched her business.  Will I be liable for half of the loan? ATTORNEY ANSWER: The answer is maybe.  In terms of the divorce itself, if you are not getting an interest in the business, it would likely not be considered equitable for you to be responsible for the loan.  The problem, however,
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When we divorce, will my husband be entitled to half of a gift check?

Additional Information: My husband and I were both in our 40s when we got married, and having an elaborate wedding didn’t seem right, so we eloped. My parents gave me a gift check which we then put toward a house we bought together in North Andover. We are now getting a divorce.  Will my husband get half of this asset? ATTORNEY ANSWER: This is a difficult question to answer with the information provided.  Without knowing the length of the marriage, equity in the house, amount of the gift, other assets involved, amount of liabilities and other pertinent issues, it is
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