Child Support in Massachusetts

In a Massachusetts divorce, one parent may be ordered by the court to pay child support. Under Massachusetts law, both parents are required to support their children—and this is true regardless of marital status (whether the parents are married, divorced, separated, or were never married). The parent the child lives with is termed the custodial parent. The noncustodial parent may be required to pay child support. Child support is complicated, but there are several things you should know. One, child support may be used to pay for housing, food, clothing, education, and insurance and medical costs. Two, if one parent has received an order for child support and the other parent is not paying it, payment can be compelled. The procedure is to file a Complaint for Contempt with the appropriate Court. This means that, if the other parent does not obey the child support order, he or she can
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Divorce Modifications in the State of Massachusetts

When the terms of your divorce no longer fit your present circumstances, petitioning for divorce modification can help alter the terms accordingly. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, overturning a divorce decree requires an appeal. The appeal process is often drawn-out because one appellate court will need to overturn a lower court’s decision. Appeals are usually unsuccessful except in the case of exceptional and compelling circumstances. The following are common examples of situations that warrant a divorce modification. 1. Moving a long distance from an ex-spouse. 2. A needed increase of alimony. Spousal support is not mandatory in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It depends upon the income and situation of the spouses. 3. Dramatic increase or decrease of income for former spouse under a child support order. 4. A child not being properly supervised by parent or current partner of parent due to psychological or substance abuse problems. 5. A teenage
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Divorce in Massachusetts: How to Get Started

Deciding to end a marriage is a difficult and stressful decision. But, the decision is only the first step in ending a marriage. Once you have decided that divorce is best for you and your spouse, the next step is finding an attorney. A law firm well-versed in Massachusetts law pertaining to divorce can help make the dissolution of your marriage as painless and smooth as possible. When you begin looking for representation, it is important that you understand exactly what your needs are to choose an attorney best-suited for your situation. Below are a few basic things you should look for in a divorce attorney. Licensed and experienced in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Client reviews verifying a positive track record and good outcomes Good standing with the Board of Bar Overseers Someone you’re comfortable with, listens and communicates well with you In your selection process, there are a few
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Limited Assistance Representation

Limited Assistance Representation allows an attorney to assist a self-represented client with specific issues on a limited basis.  This might include preparing or reviewing documents, appearing in court or giving legal advice, hence the term unbundled services.  This type of limited representation, compensated or pro bono, permits the attorney to withdraw representation after completing agreed upon services. Although the attorney does not fully participate, the attorney owes the client the same duties of loyalty, competence and confidentiality for the limited representation as he would under full service representation.  The attorney also must review the limitations of the legal assistance with the client, for example in a written description.
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Separation Agreements

Separation agreements allow you to outline specifically in a divorce what you agree to. This might include details about child support, alimony, taxes, and name changes. What you put in the agreement is specific to the situation and concerns you may have. There are two forms of a separation agreement in Massachusetts. One functions as a contract and is binding when you and the other party sign it. The other is non-binding until you get the approval of the judge. However, in both cases each party must agree to sign the agreement. Which type of separation agreement depends on specific details of the case. A lawyer can best outline the difference. If a judge thinks it is unfair or that someone was forced to sign it, he or she may not sign off on it. Further, when children are involved, the agreement must be seen as in the “best interest
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Forensic Accounting For Your Divorce

With the many complications involved in divorce–both financial and the stress it places on the individuals involved–the last thing one needs to deal with is the suspicion that the opposing spouse is hiding assets or unreported income during the legal process of dividing marital assets and debts. It is in cases such as this when a specialist with experience in forensic accounting in divorce cases becomes necessary. This is a very confusing experience for an individual without a professional’s involvement. Locating hidden assets is one of the most difficult aspects of divorce. This is why it becomes crucial to employ a professional with expertise and experience in this line of work. Because there are many discrete ways of hiding assets, including false documents and handing assets off to third parties, the complicated process is nearly impossible without the skills of a forensic accountant.
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Why Hiring a Forensic Accountant may be Necessary

With the many complications involved in divorce–both financial and the stress it places on the individuals involved–the last thing one needs to deal with is the suspicion that the opposing spouse is hiding assets or unreported income during the legal process of dividing marital assets and debts. It is in cases such as this when a specialist with experience in forensic accounting in divorce cases becomes necessary. This is a very confusing experience for an individual without a professional’s involvement. Locating hidden assets is one of the most difficult aspects of divorce. This is why it becomes crucial to employ a professional with expertise and experience in this line of work. Because there are many discrete ways of hiding assets, including false documents and handing assets off to third parties, the complicated process is nearly impossible without the skills of a forensic accountant. Forensic accountants possess not only the skills
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Family Law Court Orders: Contempt and Enforcement of Court Orders

When a divorce decree is finalized by the court, the decree often contains specific orders to one party specifically called court orders. These orders may include payment of child support or spousal support or a transfer of property to one spouse. The courts may also order specific visitation schedules for the non-custodial parent. Too often, former spouses may elect to ignore these orders which can create numerous problems. The penalties to the offending party for these transgressions can be severe but oftentimes the party who is being harmed needs to file a claim in order to call the court’s attention to the situation. Your family law attorney may suggest you file a contempt of court case against the offending party. What do I have to prove? Before you can file a contempt of court charge against the person who is violating a court order, there are certain conditions that must
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Parenting Time

Divorce can be a stressful time. When children are involved, the experience can be even harder. Figuring out where the child or children will live often transitions into disagreements and arguments, particularly if both parents want sole custody of the children or if one parent feels like he or she is not getting fair visitation rights. Massachusetts law concerning child custody and visitation is pretty clear-cut. First of all, if the parents were married, unless a judge has said otherwise, both parents temporarily share custody of the child until a permanent decision is made by the court. If the parents are unmarried, the mother has sole custody of the child unless a judge says otherwise. Permanent custody of the child can be broken up into four types of custody. Sole legal custody– One parent has the right to make decisions about major issues such as where the child goes to
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Establishing Paternity in Massachusetts

When a child is born to two married parents, the husband is the legal father and his name is put on the child’s birth certificate. However, in the diverse society in which we live, children are born into families of many different dynamics. When parents are unmarried, paternity must be legally established in order for the father to appear on the child’s birth certificate and have legal rights to the child. This is an important step since it also involves future rights of the child. So, how is paternity established in Massachusetts? Voluntary Vs. Involuntary Paternity can be established voluntarily or involuntarily. When both parents agree on who the biological father is, they both sign a “Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage” in front of a notary pubic, establishing paternity voluntarily. This acknowledgement is then filed with the Registry of Vital Records, officially establishing paternity.
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