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  • Brockton MA Divorce Law Blog

    The value of retirement accounts during divorce

    Many couples build their lives together over a series of decades, accumulating memories and assets as they go. As a result, the property division process that occurs at the time of divorce can be complex and difficult for many. Massachusetts residents that divorce in their retirement years often have the opportunity to include retirement accounts into their list of marital property.

    Over the past 20 years or so, the divorce rate of retirement-age Americans has doubled, and the U. S. Census Bureau estimated recently that more than 10 percent of people in their mid 60s to 70s were divorced. However, one recent survey found that a large percentage of people are unaware that they are entitled to claim the retirement benefits of their spouse during divorce.

    Determining how a prenup figures into divorce

    Prenuptial agreements may have once been associated with a certain degree of stigma, but they are becoming increasingly common. In fact, couples approaching marriage in the state of Massachusetts and beyond are often encouraged to make legal arrangements addressing such issues as spousal support and property division in an effort to account for the possibility of divorce later on. And while prenups are considered legally binding, there are instances where they may be overruled in divorce proceedings.

    Family law judges take several factors into consideration when weighing the merits of a prenuptial agreement during divorce litigation. In addition to identifying whether or not all relevant financial information was included in the premarital contract at the time it was drafted, the judge may also question at what point prior to the wedding the agreement was established. Beyond that, there may be concerns over the possibility that one spouse was coerced into signing the contract.

    Alimony dispute may result in appeal, new legislation

    The process of dissolving a marriage can be difficult under the best of circumstances, but there are instances where spouses actively engage in long and highly emotional disputes that can take years to resolve in the Massachusetts family law system. And because alimony can become a point of contention between parties, family law judges sometimes establish support agreements that are later contested and/or amended.

    One alimony dispute has been going on for years and may continue despite the fact that New Jersey’s Superior Court recently ruled on the case. The high court's Appellate Division found that the ex-wife in the dispute is entitled to permanent alimony and reimbursement for her attorney’s fees. That ruling is in agreement with a lower court and also recognizes that the woman is permanently disabled and unable to provide financially for herself.

    The argument for staying in the family home during divorce

    Despite the fact that most people regard the end of their marriage as a kind of unraveling process, household changes that occur during a separation are often taken into consideration by family law courts to help create new living and financial arrangements. For instance, the decision to either move out of the household or stay for the duration of divorce proceedings can play a major role in everything from determining alimony payments to child support.

    Whether a person is the one seeking divorce are not, it’s advisable for that person to remain in the family home during the divorce process. The idea of staying in the house with one’s ex may seem awkward, but the gesture of staying present and engaged in one’s family is often recognized by the court when it comes time to make important financial and lifestyle arrangements.

    Preparing for property division

    While the fine residents of Brockton, Massachusetts, know that tax season comes around every spring, it can be much more difficult to anticipate and plan for major life changes like the end of one’s marriage. Even so, it is always recommended that individuals approaching divorce take several steps early to help ensure that important processes like property division are handled correctly and fairly.

    Identify all debts

    The modern image of child support

    While most people understand that many arrangements made during the divorce process are intended to account for the well-being of children, families throughout the state of Massachusetts and beyond have long criticized some family law policies for reflecting gender biases. For instance, fathers’ rights advocates often claim that the way in which child support payments are determined reflect favoritism toward mothers in many cases. Recent figures suggest, however, that child support guidelines across the country are increasingly reflecting gender neutrality and objectivity.

    Since each divorce case is different, several factors may be taken into consideration when determining child support arrangements. However, the two fundamental components in the equation include acknowledging the parent that was the primary financial provider for the family during the marriage, in addition to naming the parent that was the primary caregiver. Because approximately 40 percent of American households are now financially supported by mothers, the old assumption of the father serving as the primary breadwinner no longer holds the credence it once did.

    Could signing on to Facebook lead to marital troubles?

    At the end of the work day, when two spouses are home, a lot can be said about their relationship based on how they choose to spend their time. Do the two eat dinner together with the kids and talk about their day? Or do the two spend their time apart, with one or both spouses engaged with others on social networking sites?

    To some, these may sound like strange questions. However, a recent study found a correlation between social networking sites, such as Facebook, and marital unhappiness.

    Stay-at-home parents need to consider alimony reform

    If you're planning on staying at home with children during your marriage or have been a stay-at-home parent, then you may want to consider alimony and how it is affected by your choice. According to this article from May 29, that choice could lead to you getting less or no alimony, because some courts could think that you should be able to balance children and a job.

    According to this story, what happens during some marriages is that one of the two parents goes to work while the other stays home to manage and care for their children. After a while, if divorce becomes an issue, it's obvious that one person has been the breadwinner while the other has been living at home and bringing in no income.

    New app to make child support payments more transparent

    If you've had to pay child support or are expecting to receive it, the news about this app that can make payments easier may catch your attention. The app is available in Massachusetts and other states around the U.S., and it's known as SupportPay. This app is helpful because it helps two people better divide payments for child support, and that makes seeing who pays what a lot easier.

    The May 2 report states that this app could help the 39 million divorced couples in North America who are reportedly exchanging over $200 billion in compensation. What does this app do that can help? It provides a way to securely and privately exchange automatic payments for expenses that are shared and for child support. This technology allows the process to be completely transparent, so it will always be clear who paid for what and for how much.

    Massachusetts to lead the way with new child custody laws

    When it comes to the custody of your children, you want to know that custody laws are on your side. Fortunately, the government has been overhauling custody laws, and that can be beneficial for Massachusetts along with all the other states. According to the news, Massachusetts is going to have the chance to lead the nation with progressive social legislation that will completely overhaul the obsolete child custody laws that are in place.

    One provision of these new changes would encourage judges to assign each parent no less than one-third of parenting time to each person. That would result in fewer people ending up in battles over their children with little to no child custody, especially in situations where neither parent is ill equipped for the job. If a parent is unfit or the cause of domestic violence in the home, that, of course, would be treated differently in order to protect the child.