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Massachusetts Divorce Lawyer

Massachusetts divorce lawyer, Joshua Spirn understands that nothing can be more devastating or stressful than going through a divorce or custody dispute. Joshua Spirn & Associates can provide you with the peace of mind you deserve during this difficult time; and we have the expertise to achieve the results you deserve.



Divorce is never easy. People marry for many reasons: love; pregnancy concerns; financial security; emotional security; and immigration, among other reasons. Unfortunately, approximately 50% of marriages end in divorce. Therefore, if you are reading this, you are not alone.

Some of the most common reasons people divorce are infidelity, abuse or simply because the husband and wife have grown apart.

TYPES OF DIVORCE IN MASSACHUSETTS

Generally speaking, in Massachusetts, most, if not all complaints for divorce are filed as an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or what is commonly known as a no-fault divorce. There are two ways to file for divorce in this manner (1) Contested, or (2) Uncontested.

Generally, a contested divorce means that one party does not agree to the divorce or the proposed terms of the divorce such as, among other things, custody, child support, visitation, alimony or asset division. With this in mind, the parties must proceed as if the case is going to trial. This is a very expensive proposition considering attorney's fees, costs and expenses.

On the other hand, an uncontested divorce means that both parties have agreed to all of the terms of the divorce. They have worked out all of their differences and the details regarding, among other things, custody, child support, visitation, alimony and division of their assets. An uncontested divorce is a very cost efficient alternative. Therefore, when the parties approach the attorney, all the attorney has left to do is simply meet with the parties, draft the documents and file them with the court.

BEGINNING AN ACTION FOR DIVORCE

In order to start an action for a contested divorce, the attorney will prepare a complaint and summons. Then the attorney will file the complaint with the court and serve the summons and complaint upon the other party to the action.

Meanwhile pending the outcome of the divorce, a party may move or ask a judge to do certain things. By way of example, one spouse may go into court and ask the judge to issue an order for temporary support; custody of the minor children; visitation; or any other relief desired.

Once a complaint is filed, the defendant must file an answer with the court and serve the answer on the plaintiff within 20 days of service of process. Then, the parties may engage in discovery. That is, either party may send interrogatories and request for documents, take depositions, etc. Once discovery is completed, a pretrial conference will be scheduled with the judge to see if the matter can be settled. It is at this point that many of the contested cases are settled. Keep in mind that only about 3% of cases actually go to trial.

PROPERTY

Massachusetts is an equitable division state which means that all of the property, real and personal, no matter what name is on the title, becomes property of the marital estate. That means everything from the heirloom given to you by your great-grandmother to the house you purchased while you were single, even if the house is in your name only, becomes subject to division and distribution.

Equitable division, however, does not mean a 50/50 split. For example, if the marriage is one of short duration, say two years, and you bought a house 10 years ago, your spouse may be entitled to only 20%. However, if you purchased a house together with your spouse, you may entitled to 50% of the equity.

CHILD SUPPORT

Child support in Massachusetts is a very easy calculation as the state legislature has come up with a formula. Where the combined gross income of both parties does not exceed $135,000.00 and where the gross income of the non-custodial parent does not exceed $100,000.00, simply plug the numbers into the formula and the amount of child support is given. A judge has minimal discretion to deviate from the formula.

CUSTODY AND VISITATION

Men, like it or not, in Massachusetts, more times than not, custody is going to the child's mother unless you can prove that the child's mother is an unfit parent. As the non-custodial parent, you have a right to visitation and that visitation cannot be withheld because of the failure to pay child support.

There are many factors and dynamics that go into a divorce. This information sheet has only scratched the surface.

Note: While the information presented in this fact sheet is accurate as of the date of publication, it should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority. It should not be used as a substitute for reference to Massachusetts and Federal law, both of which may be reviewed at local law libraries. Finally, this fact sheet should supplement, not be a substitute for, advice of competent legal counsel.

If you have any questions for Massachusetts Divorce Lawyer, Joshua Spirn, contact him today.