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Showing posts from November, 2009

Eat, Drink and Remarry

I often ask my Divorce clients to tell me how they visualize their life five years from now. This often helps focus clients on their goals, which helps us determine the best decisions to make in their divorce case. For instance, if a client doesn't see themselves living in this area five years from now, then I wouldn't recommend that they buy their spouse out of a marital home. One question that comes up in many cases is the likelihood that a client might get remarried, which can have an obvious impact on divorce issues (such as alimony which typically ends upon remarriage). Almost every Divorce client that enters my office is adamant that they will not get remarried. But the statistics disagree. In fact, 50 percent of divorced individuals remarry within five years . According to a study by the Department of Health and Human Services , the percentage was even higher in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Many clients don't want to hear about these statistics, but I think that

What does it mean to be a Father?

In Tuesday's New York Times, there was an article entitled "Losing Fatherhood" that explores how DNA testing has changed the face of Fatherhood in America. It's an interesting read and raises the question of what does it really mean to be a Father. Last night on the ABC comedy the Modern Family , the patriarch played by Ed O'Neill (of Al Bundy fame) states that "90% of being a Father is just showing up." In Modern Family Ed O'Neill's character, Jay Pritchett, has an adult gay son who is in a couple and has an adopted daughter, and an adult daughter who is married with three children as well. In addition, Jay Pritchett has re-married to a younger woman and has a step-son. Although there are three distinct families in the show, all with different "father figures", they are all tied together by their relationship to Jay. In last night's episode ( available online here ) Jay plays the role of grand-father, father and step-fat

The Honeymooners' Divorce: Collaborative Law, Mediation or Litigation - Part III

The Kramden's and Litigation: Ralph is a bus driver and Alice is currently unemployed but has worked as secretary at times when Ralph has been laid off. They have no children and Alice is primarily responsible for the management of the finances. Ralph often gets involved in ridiculous schemes that Alice claims have wasted their money. Ralph and Alice often insult each other, and Ralph makes constant threats such as "One of these days... Pow! Right in the kisser! One of these days Alice, straight to the moon!." Recently Ralph was caught using his cell phone while driving and lost his job as a bus driver. When he came home and told Alice she berated him for his stupidity and Ralph became extremely angry. He got right in Alice's face and said, as he so often has, "One of these days... Pow! Right in the kisser! One of these days Alice, straight to the moon!." Alice replies "I'd like to see you try" and in response Ralph steps closer to her and

What happens to Social Security payments in a Divorce?

A Divorce actually has very little effect on your rights in your spouse's/ex-spouse's Social Security benefits. So long as the marriage lasted ten years, a spouse who has not worked or who has low earnings can be entitled to as much as one-half of the retired worker’s full benefit. If you are eligible for both your own retirement benefits and for benefits as a spouse/ex-spouse, Social Security always pays your own benefits first. If your share of your spouse's/ex-spouse's benefits are higher than your retirement benefits, you will get a combination of benefits equaling the higher spouse benefit. The amount of your spouses/ex-spouses benefit that you receive has no effect on the amount of benefits that they receive. To see a more complete explanation visit this helpful Social Security website.

Retirement Does Not Stop Alimony - The Pierce Decision

UPDATE: There is pending legislation for major changes to the alimony statute in Massachusetts. The Alimony Reform Act of 2011 was filed on January 18, 2011 and you can learn more about the Act at MassAlimonyFormula.com or in our recent blog post highlighting the differences between the bill and the current law . A much awaited decision from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court was published today: Pierce v. Pierce, SJC - 10381, Nov. 9, 2009 . In this case, the Husband had agreed to an alimony order of $110,000 per year after a 32 year marriage, and had voluntarily retired at age 65. Upon retirement, the Husband filed a Complaint for Modification seeking the elimination of his alimony. The trial Judge reduced the alimony to $42,000 per year but declined to terminate alimony. The Pierce appeal centered around the Husband's claim that there should be a presumption that alimony ends upon retirement. Without that presumption, the Husband argues, the person receiving ali

Who is Filing for Bankruptcy?

Courtesy of FancyStats.com