Andrew H.P. Norton A Professional Advocate
Free Initial Consultation508-322-7032877-915-0796 Serving All of Southeastern Massachusetts and Cape Cod

Brockton MA Divorce Law Blog

What is international parental kidnapping?

Despite the fact that Massachusetts family law guidelines generally support the belief that both parents have a right to maintain regular, quality access to their child, state and federal policies prohibit parents from unlawfully taking their child out of the country. If you suspect that your child’s other parent intends to or has already taken him or her out of the U.S. without your knowledge or consent, it is incredibly important for you to understand what international parental kidnapping is and how it is addressed under the law.

The United States Department of Justice explains that the international abduction of a child by his or her parent typically occurs at the onset of a marital separation or divorce, in anticipation of a court-ordered custody agreement or during a serious marital dispute. No matter the circumstances surrounding the abduction, unlawfully removing your child from his or her resident country of the U.S. is a federal offense, and can result in your child’s other parent facing a criminal conviction of Up to three years in prison.

Child custody tips for the holidays

With the holiday season in full bloom, families across the state of Massachusetts and the entire country are preparing for a whirlwind of festive events and gatherings. And while this can be a magical time of year, it can be especially difficult for families in the process of divorce. Fortunately, there are several practical steps that parents can take to help ensure that they and their children enjoy a happy and healthy holiday season together.

When considering holiday-related child custody and visitation arrangements, it’s important to keep the best interests of the kids in mind. Parents should also remember that the ultimate goal should be to enjoy as much quality time together as possible. Therefore, it’s recommended that parents avoid devoting too much of their holiday parenting time to transporting the kids to and from other family members’ homes. Transitioning from a one-household lifestyle into two separate households can be difficult and children can quickly tire of visiting extended family.

How does Massachusetts determine child support?

In Massachusetts, both parents are required to support their children financially. Child support payments are largely based on how much time the child spends with each parent as well as the how old the children are and the cost of items such as day care and health insurance

The state will also take into consideration a parent’s earning capacity and income. Income includes items such as the following:

What types of alimony are there?

Massachusetts family law courts, like those across the country, are increasingly recognizing that spousal support guidelines should address the various needs of contemporary families. As a result, several forms alimony exist to provide divorcing parties with the financial support they need, while also recognizing temporary support can be beneficial in many cases. No matter if you were the primary source of income in your marriage or not, it can be beneficial to understand the major types of alimony that can be awarded in a divorce settlement.

According to About Relationships, there are four primary types of alimony. Temporary spousal support is awarded before a divorce is finalized and/or during separation. If you are financially dependent upon your spouse, the court may issue an order for temporary alimony, which accounts for your financial needs during the divorce process. Temporary spousal support may be awarded until the your divorce settlement is complete or until another form of alimony is granted.

Understanding equitable distribution

Attorney Andrew H.P. Norton is familiar with the many factors and complexities that can come into play in property division proceedings. Depending on the unique aspects of your marriage and joint and personal finances, the division of assets in your divorce settlement may reflect several legal considerations used in equitable distribution cases.

Unlike other states that implement community property guidelines, About Relationships explains that Massachusetts conducts property division using equitable distribution standards. Equitable distribution addresses the division of marital property in divorce, and prioritizes the fair allocation of assets according to case-specific factors. Equitable distribution differs from community property significantly, since it relies on the consideration of multiple factors instead of dividing assets based on exact monetary values. Therefore, your divorce settlement and property division agreement can illustrate the result of effective negotiations and unique circumstances.

Alimony: considering the marital standard of living

In the past, alimony judgments were largely based on a number of subjective factors. For instance, spousal support was primarily intended to help maintain the lifestyle that the recipient spouse had grown accustomed to during his or her marriage. Now, however, the components used to determine whether and how much spousal support is appropriate are becoming increasingly standardized. Still, the marital standard of living is still taken into consideration in many cases.

According to the American Bar Association, organizations like the American Law Institute primarily regard spousal support as financial compensation for losses incurred by one spouse as a result of divorce. In divorce cases where one spouse served as the primary source of income during the marriage, or where one spouse’s lifestyle and standard of living lowered as a result of getting married, alimony distributes those losses between both parties. In this way, the marital standard of living continues to play a significant role in alimony proceedings.

How can hidden assets be revealed?

The accurate identification and valuation of assets during the property division process is crucial to ensuring that you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse come to a fair and equitable divorce settlement. Serious issues can arise, therefore, if your spouse attempts to conceal marital property. That is why it is important to understand how assets can be hidden and discovered in divorce.

According to the Association of Divorce Financial Planners, many high-asset divorce cases involve allegations of hidden assets. As a result, divorce attorneys, financial planners and other experts often implement a number of techniques to uncover all marital property during divorce proceedings. And given that there are numerous ways in which your husband or wife may be hiding assets, your legal counsel may require several different types of information in order to begin their investigation.

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.

Brockton Office

Andrew H. P. Norton
71 Legion Parkway, Suite 21
Brockton, MA 02301
Phone: 508-322-7032
Toll-Free: 877-915-0796
Fax: 508-427-9379
Map and Directions

Plymouth Office

Andrew H. P. Norton
6 Town Wharf
Plymouth, MA 02360
Phone: 508-746-2444
Map and Directions