Our attorneys have years of experience in the practice of divorce and family law, a legal service area that, in addition to divorce, can include guardianship actions, domestic violence proceedings, and cases involving custody, visitation and support of the children of unmarried parents. Regardless of the specific proceeding, divorce remains the core reference point for domestic relations practitioners, and most family law cases overlap with one of the four primary issues found in a typical divorce case:
In any family law case involving minor children, the court must determine which parent the children will reside with, how major decisions affecting the children will be made made, and the frequency, duration and conditions dictating the non-custodial parent’s parenting time. Although the precise legal standards can differ for legal proceedings involving non-parents seeking custody (such as a petition for guardianships or grandparent vitiation), in the cases involving biological parents, a judge generally has wide discretion to enter orders pertaining to custody and parenting time consistent with the “best interests of the child”. …continue reading about custody and parenting time.
In Massachusetts, child support the amount and duration of child support is dictated by the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. In most cases, a parent who is granted primary physical custody of a child will be entitled to child support from the non-custodial parent. Massachusetts last revised its Child Support Guidelines on August 1, 2013. Most observers agree that the most significant changes in the 2013 Guidelines involved a reduction in the amount paid to a custodial parent under a basic order, as well as reductions in support orders for non-custodial parents who have parenting time more than 33% of the time. …continue reading about child support.
Division of Marital Assets
The Massachusetts divorce statute provides that a Probate and Family Court “may assign to either husband or wife all or any” property owned by either party. As such, all property acquired by either party at any time, including property acquired before the marriage, is subject to division as part of a divorce. However, there are numerous considerations that judges consider in entering a final division of assets. …continue reading about the division of assets.
In 2011, the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act became law. The Act changed almost every element of alimony in Massachusetts, including:
- Created separate and clearly defined alimony categories;
- Set limits on duration of alimony orders;
- Allowed for the termination of alimony at retirement;
- Allowed judges to change alimony orders when ex-spouses cohabitate with new partners;
- Created new factors for judges to consider in creating alimony orders; and
- Allowed judges to exercise more discretion in alimony cases based upon individual circumstances. …continue reading about alimony.
Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions: Divorce in Massachusetts page for more information.
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