Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. Divorce - Contested
- 2. Divorce - Uncontested
- 3. Child Custody & Visitation
- 4. Child Support
- 5. Domestic Violence
- 6. Alimony / Division of Assets
- 7. Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreement
- 1. How do I file for Divorce?
To file for divorce in Massachusetts you need to bring the marriage certificate or a certified copy to the Probate and Family Court in your county. The courthouse will have all the documents that you need to complete. Filing for divorce is the easy part. Getting the court and/or spouse to agree with you is the next step.
- 2. How much is this going to cost?
- 3. What matters can the court determine?
The court’s job is to unwind the marriage. The court has jurisdiction over the children, division of assets/debts, health insurance and financial support. The Massachusetts Probate and Family court has a significant amount of power to determine the parties and your children’s future.
- 1. Do both parties need attorneys?
The short answer is no. Neither party is required to have an attorney, but a good attorney will guide his/her client through the process. At the end of the process the client will have an enforceable agreement that addresses all of parties needs.
- 2. Can one attorney represent both parties?
No. One attorney for each party. The alternative to this rule is that the attorney acts as a mediator and does not represent either party.
- 3. How much is this going to cost?
- 1. How do I get parenting time with my children?
If you are seeking parenting time with your child(ren), then you need to petition the appropriate probate and family Court. The type of pleading that you are required to file is dependent on your current situation.
- 2. Can I move out of state with the children without the permission of the other parent?
In order to permanently remove your child out of state without the permission of the other parent it is necessary to get the approval of the court.
- 3. How can I speak with a lawyer about my specific situation?
Call our office at 617-410-6467 to schedule a meeting with an attorney.
- 4. How do I know if Massachusetts has jurisdiction over the children?
Generally, Massachusetts has jurisdiction over the child(ren) once they have lived in Massachusetts for six consecutive months.
- 1. How can I figure out what the other party’s income is?
Sometimes the best way is to ask. If the party refuses to provide this information, then we can assist you to collect this information through the legal process.
- 2. What if our combined incomes are greater than $250,000.00?
The guidelines take into account the first $250,000.00 of combined available income. Support based on income above $250,000.00 is at the discretion of the judge. The judge can be persuaded when exercising discretion by offering an analysis of the needs of the child(ren).
- 3. What do I need to do to begin receiving child support or modify the current order?
This depends on your current situation. If a case has not been opened, then you will need to file a complaint. If you currently have a judgment and want to change the terms of the judgment, then you will need to file a complaint for modification.
- 1. How do I get a restraining order?
You can obtain a restraining order the following ways:
- Go to the police station or court and file a Complaint for a Restraining Order and Affidavit. The affidavit should contain a detailed account of an incident or series of incidents that require a restraining order. The police will assist you with the process; or
- Go to local District Court or Probate and Family Court and request a restraining order. You will go in front of a judge and explain why you are in imminent fear of physical harm. The judge will determine the validity of the complaint and decided whether or not to issue a temporary restraining order.
- 2. What happens at a restraining order hearing?
A restraining order hearing is an evidentiary hearing. This means that the parties will need to comply with the Massachusetts Rules of Evidence during the hearing. Each party will have the opportunity to testify and to cross examine the other witness.
- 3. Can your office represent me at a restraining order hearing?
We represent clients in Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex county that are involved in the restraining order process. If you are looking for a Boston area attorney knowledgeable in Restraining Orders, call me at 617-410-6467 to get the help that you need today.
- 1. How do I figure out what is and what is not a marital asset?
In general marital assets were acquired during the marriage or interwoven into the marriage.
- 2. Do I have a right to my spouse's retirement plan?
Your spouse’s retirement plan is divided the same as other marital assets. Via a qualified domestic relations order retirement assets are transferred from one spouse to the other tax free.
- 3. How do I know how much spousal support I am entitled to?
Alimony is based on need of the recipient and the ability of the payor to pay. The recipient will generally receive 30% to 35% of the difference in income.
- 4. How do I prove that I need support?
Need is proven based on the lifestyles of the parties during the marriage. It will be necessary for the recipient to show the court how much support is needed to maintain the lifestyle accustomed to during the marriage.
- 1. Do both parties need attorneys?
In order to ensure that your agreement is found valid if challenged at the time of divorce it is necessary for both parties to have individual counsel.
- 2. Can my spouse and I agree on matters regarding the children?
The court always retains jurisdiction over matters regarding the children. The agreement can include terms regarding the children, but the court will ultimately determine what is in the best interests of the children at the time of separation.