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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How To Protect Your Children During a Divorce

Children are more intuitive than we give them credit. Divorce takes a toll on every member of the family, but it’s essential to make sure the children understand that the end of your marriage is not the end of the parent-child relationship. Have an Open Discussion Before sitting down with your child to announce the divorce, make a plan with your ex. Let the kids know what is going on with an open discussion as a family. This isn’t always easy when two parents are struggling to communicate, but the children will be comforted by having the family unit together.
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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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Court Rules Involuntary Non-disparaging Clauses Unconstitutional

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), on a case of direct appellate review, recently ruled (May 7, 2020) that involuntary nondisparaging clauses are an “impermissible restraint on speech.” Shak v. Shak, SJC-2748. These types of clauses are frequently used to prevent spouses from discussing their cases on social media. The Court held: “As important as it is to protect a child from the emotional and psychological harm that might follow from one parent’s use of vulgar or disparaging words about the other, merely reciting that interest is not enough to satisfy the heavy burden of restricting speech.” This is a
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Court Rules Involuntary Nondisparaging Clauses Unconstitutional

The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), on a case of direct appellate review, recently ruled (May 7, 2020) that involuntary nondisparaging clauses  are an “impermissible restraint on speech.”  Shak v. Shak, SJC-2748. These types of clauses are frequently used to prevent spouses from discussing their cases on social media. The Court held: “As important as it is to protect a child from the emotional and psychological harm that might follow from one parent’s use of vulgar or disparaging words about the other, merely reciting that interest is not enough to satisfy the heavy burden of restricting speech.” This is a landmark
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Contemplating Your Estate Plan During Covid-19

Get Your Affairs in Order For most of us, coronavirus and the threat it poses has made us contemplate the status of our estate plans. As thousands of people in the Commonwealth have died of COVID-19 and its complications, many thousands more are ill, and many, many thousands more face unemployment and financial hardship. There are also innumerable, lesser losses: newborn grandchildren who have yet to meet their grandparents; weddings canceled and postponed; funerals with only a handful of mourners present to celebrate a life well-lived. All this is enough to make anyone consider life and what will become of
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Modification of Child Support due to job loss and COVID-19

Times Are Tough The spread of COVID-19 has thrown the certainties of life into disarray. Unfortunately, this uncertainty has had a devastating impact on both the stock market and the everyday commerce that sustains the economy. Freelancers, drivers, hotel, restaurant workers and many others now find themselves physically or legally barred from working. The layoffs aren’t limited to service workers; even people employed in fields who are able to work remotely from home might find themselves laid-off or furloughed as businesses reduce their payrolls in a bid to cut costs during these challenging times. With almost twenty million people unemployed,
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