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  • Brockton MA Divorce Law Blog

    Child custody considerations

    Too many parents are not aware of the huge number of child custody issues that can arise until they experience them firsthand during divorce proceedings. That is why the attorneys at Andrew H.P. Norton place a great deal of emphasis on informing you, as a parent, about some of the factors that are known to come into play during the process of determining child custody arrangements.

    Many of the difficulties that can arise during and after divorce proceedings often revolve around parents’ efforts to act in the best interest of their child/children. For instance, you may wish to move out of state with your child in order to pursue a job offer, which could ultimately provide your family with more financial stability. And while your interest in a new job may be rooted in better providing for your child’s needs, your child’s other parent could be opposed to you moving out of state. In such cases, child custody modifications may be necessary.

    Child support information for military reservists

    Serving in the military on an active-duty basis or on reserve can pose unique challenges to parents responsible for providing child support in Massachusetts. That is why it is important for military parents to understand their legal rights, obligations and options when it comes to having their child support payments enforced and/or modified.

    The National Military Family Association explains that the Defense Finance and Accounting Service has the authority to enforce the terms of a court-ordered child support agreement by garnishing monthly payments from a service member’s paycheck. And while the automatic withdrawal of child support from the service member’s pay can be convenient and ensure consistency, issues can arise if and when that parent’s military orders change.

    High-asset divorce considerations

    At the law firm of Andrew H. P. Norton, we understand the unique concerns and legal issues that can arise in high asset divorce cases. The amount and type of property that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse accumulated during your marriage will be subject to an inventory process determining ownership, valuation of the property and property division. Spousal support and child support may also be determined by marital property and assets.  The more property you and your spouse have, the more complicated the divorce process becomes.

    One of the most important aspects of property division in high-asset divorce proceedings is valuation. Determining exactly when property was accumulated in a marriage, and accurately establishing its worth, is crucial to concluding how that property should be distributed. For instance, the value of a personal business and/or professional practice is based on numerous factors, including the date of opening, business liabilities and revenues.

    What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

    If you and your family are confronted by the prospect of divorce, it can be incredibly helpful to begin acquainting yourself with some of the concepts and terms that relate to child custody arrangements in the state of Massachusetts and beyond. Understanding what legal and physical custody means, and how they differ from one another, can go a long way to eliminate confusion for you as you begin the process of developing custody and visitation plans for your kids.

    You, like many other parents, may be confused about some child custody terms, since they often seem to have more than one definition. About Parenting, for instance, discusses joint custody in terms of both physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is also sometimes called residential custody, and outlines the living arrangements of the child or children involved in the divorce. Therefore, establishing joint physical custody between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse means that your child will live with each of you for comparable amounts of time. In the event that you are awarded sole physical custody of your child, he or she will only live with you.

    CEO’s role allegedly diminished in divorce tactic

    When issues over accurately identifying marital and separate assets arise during divorce proceedings, emphasis is typically placed on determining when and how the property in question was acquired. And given that the property division process can be especially complex in high-asset divorces, efforts to establish valuation dates may be significant.

    Reuters recently compared content found on the website of Continental Resources Inc. to that of earlier website pages, and found 18 instances where information was either revised, supplemented or deleted entirely. The founder and CEO of the oil company apparently identified inaccuracies on the website and had them corrected, but many believe that the content revisions are intended to downplay the role that the CEO had in the success of the company.

    I want a divorce – what do I do now?

    Once you come to the realization that your marriage should end, you may be compelled to begin the divorce process. It can be difficult to know exactly where to begin, however, since there are a number of practical and legal factors to take into consideration. Provided below are a few things worth noting before you file your divorce petition in Massachusetts.

    According to the Massachusetts court system, family law guidelines recognize two categories of divorce. And depending on whether or not you are seeking a fault or no-fault divorce, you may be confronted by a number of different filing requirements. Before you ever get into the paperwork and more technical aspects of divorce proceedings, though, it can be incredibly helpful to have your personal finances and other affairs in order. 

    Factoring Social Security into the Massachusetts divorce equation

    There are so many practical and emotional decisions to be made at the end of a marriage that many people fail to fully recognize financial opportunities if and when they arise. For instance, many Illinois residents are entitled to their ex-spouse's Social Security benefits. That is why it is worth considering if and when to collect the Social Security benefits of one's ex during divorce proceedings.

    Despite the fact that Social Security guidelines can be complicated, there are several qualifying factors that apply in most cases. First off, anyone considering collecting on their ex-husband or wife's benefits should know that doing so does not affect the amount he or she is entitled to. Furthermore, it's important to keep in mind that people can only collect from others' benefits if the amount equals more than their own Social Security. And when it comes to numbers, the couple must have been married for 10 years or longer, the person hoping to collect must be 62 years older or over, and he or she must be single.

    Recognizing the entire family’s financial needs

    When we work with our clients to develop child support arrangements, we take the needs of the entire family into consideration. Of course, the best interests of the child always remain at the heart of the case, but it is also important to recognize the financial requirements and limitations of both parents as well. Developing an effective child support agreement also depends largely on anticipating other needs that the child may have in the future.

    As the custodial or noncustodial parent of your child, you likely already know that child-support payments are intended to account for the care needs of the child. As a result, they are not regarded under the law as support payments for the custodial parent, and must therefore realistically complement the needs and lifestyle of the child. In order to determine the amount of child support that is appropriate in any specific case, we use a formula that takes several factors into consideration. Some of the things we look at include:

    The division process and property valuation

    Dividing property during the course of a divorce in Massachusetts can be one of the most difficult and complex processes, as divorcing parties are often confronted by an array of emotional and practical concerns. Beyond that, decisions made during the property division process can have long-lasting financial implications for both parties involved. Understanding how marital property is identified and valuated is an important part of achieving a fair and reasonable divorce settlement.

    An important point to keep in mind when considering how personal property is divided in divorce, is that some property may be identified as separate, while other assets may be considered community property. Findlaw notes that separate property can be exempt from property division proceedings in many instances. However, separate property that becomes commingled property may ultimately be considered community property in the end. Commingled property can exist in situations where one spouse contributes to the value of property obtained by the other spouse prior to marriage.

    Divorce settlement record could soon be broken

    Any divorce can present a number of challenges that require in-depth legal guidance and/or litigation. However, high-asset divorce is often complicated and can involve a great deal of legal as well as financial expertise. After all, divorcing couples with substantial marital property in Massachusetts can have years’ worth of investments and other forms of property to identify and divide.

    Even though the case is closed to the public, some information regarding the divorce between the founder and CEO of an oil company and his wife of 26 years is surfacing. The husband in the case has political ties and is recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the wealthiest people in the entire world. One source figures that the husband is worth a little over $20 billion. It’s for that reason that some divorce and finance experts are wondering how issues like property division will be handled by both parties.