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Showing posts from July, 2011

Same-Sex Marriage is Getting Easier, But Same-Sex Divorce is still Tricky

Same Sex Marriage Map from Wikipedia this version by StephenMacmanus Since 2004, same-sex couples have been allowed to marry in Massachusetts. A handful of states have followed suit and begun allowing gay marriage (namely, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and the District of Columbia). Some couples have traveled to these states to obtain a same-sex marriage, even though their home state does not permit or recognize their marriage. Further, some same-sex couples that have married in states permitting their marriage have since moved to states that do not recognize their union. What happens if these couples want to later dissolve their marriage? A few states that do not permit same-sex marriages, most vocally Texas, have refused to recognize same-sex divorce as well. In opposite-sex marriages, marriages from one state are recognized by all of the other states.  However, the federal law DOMA (the "Defense of Marriage Act") states that no state is

How should a Child's Age affect their Parenting Plan?

It doesn't take a child development specialist to know that children of different ages have different needs. But how do we apply this knowledge to create age-appropriate parenting plans? The greatest key to working out an appropriate parenting plan regardless of age, is being able to communicate effectively with your co-parent (or take advantage of resources to help you communicate effectively such as mediation or collaborative divorce ). But if you are not able to work out a plan directly, or need assistance in figuring out what might work best, there are resources available. Zero to Three: Parenting Issues and Parenting Plans For Young Children is an article devoted specifically to the developmental needs and corresponding parenting plans for very young children. In Massachusetts, the Court recognizes that their are certain developmental stages that each child goes through, and that it is important for both parents to be involved in the child's life for their deve

Is Divorce different for Men & Women?

I recently read an article written by a professional whose firm handles divorce cases for women only . At Kelsey & Trask, P.C. we represent both men and women going through divorce, and the statement made by this other firm got me thinking. If you choose only to represent women then you must think there is something unique about how they experience divorce which you think you can help with (or conversely something unique about men's experience that you don't want to help with). In my experience having represented both men and women, everyone experiences the loss, the frustrations, the anger, the relief, and all of the other emotions of divorce differently. Although I have noticed some similarities across cases, they often depend more on the financial similarities between those cases, than the role of men or women. For example, there are still many cases which fit into the traditional model of a homemaker wife and wage earning husband. There are of course similaritie

Is a Friendly Divorce Possible?

This question was recently discussed on a LinkedIn discussion board that I follow , and the consensus was clearly that friendly divorce IS possible. This is also the message of a recent Wall Street Journal article: The Divorce Generation . That doesn't mean that a friendly divorce is easy or even possible in every case. But more and more people who have reached the unfortunate conclusion that their marriage is over, do not want to have the drawn out and angry divorce that their parents had. To respond to this desire to find a better way, more and more attorneys are offering alternative dispute resolution services, to end your marriage in a better, more civilized way. Both mediation and collaborative divorce offer ways to accomplish the "friendly divorce." To learn more about these options click the links below: Mediated Divorce Mediation Pros and Cons Collaborative Divorce Collaborative Pros and Cons

What is Split Custody?

Split Physical Custody usually refers to a situation where there are multiple children and one or some of the children reside primarily with one parent, while other of the children reside primarily with the other parent. Split custody is unusual because it is more typical that the parenting schedule that works for one child will work best for the other children as well. However every family situation is unique which is why parenting plans should be tailored to each individual family, and in some situations it may be appropriate,or even beneficial, to divide children between households.

Is Child Support Different if we have Joint Custody?

In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines are based upon the child(ren) having a primary residence with one parent and spending approximately one third of the time with the other parent. According to the Guidelines, when two parents share equally, or approximately equally, the financial responsibility and parenting time for the child(ren), the child support shall be determined by calculating the child support guidelines twice, first with one parent as the Recipient, and second with the other parent as the Recipient. The difference in the calculations shall be paid to the parent with the lower weekly support amount. To make this "cross-guidelines" calculation a little faster and easier, we have created a Joint Custody Child Support Worksheet (also available in a mobile version for use on smart phones).