The length of time between the beginning of a divorce case and the completion of the case varies greatly. The shortest amount of time it can take you to get divorced is about 5 months, while the longest can be years (my longest case so far was almost 6 years). The variation is mostly due to how you choose to resolve your divorce case, and how much you and your spouse disagree about the division of assets or custody of children. Variation due to Type of Case: Private Resolution v. Court You and your spouse can resolve your case by settlement out of court in three primary ways: Direct Negotiation: Either directly with each other, or though counsel, you and your spouse can negotiate a divorce settlement without going to court. If you can reach an agreement on all issues, then you will still have to present a written agreement to the court which details your agreement. Collaborative Divorce: If you cannot negotiate directly, and want to use counsel, the Collaborative Divorce process a
As expected, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 yesterday. The new law, which becomes effective March 1, 2012, makes significant changes to alimony in Massachusetts. Here are just some of the changes: The new law defines multiple types of alimony: Types of Alimony Defined: General Term Alimony: periodic payment of support to a recipient who is economically dependent. Rehabilitative Alimony: periodic payment of support to a recipient spouse who is expected to become economically self-sufficient by a predicted time, such as, without limitation, reemployment, completion of job training; or receipt of a sum due from the payor spouse pursuant to a judgment. Reimbursement Alimony: periodic or one-time payment of support to a recipient spouse after a marriage of not more than five years and for the purpose of compensating the recipient for economic or noneconomic contributions to the financial resources of the payor spouse, such as enabling t
In Massachusetts, same-sex marriage is a right, and that means, for some, same-sex divorce will follow. When the unfortunate happens, can same-sex spouses hire any divorce attorney? Do all the same laws apply to these couples? You might think that the legalization of same-sex marriage means that these couples have all the same rights as opposite-sex couples, but you would be wrong. Even in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the discriminatory laws and practices of the federal government and other state governments can cause legal problems for same-sex couples who are married here. In addition, because gay marriage is a relatively new right in the Commonwealth, we are still learning how the laws of divorce and separation will be applied to these marriages. There is a new site dedicated to providing information about the specific issues involved in Same-Sex Massachusetts Divorce cases called: SameSexMassDivorce.com . SameSexMassDivorce.com is a resource where same-sex spouses
image from Globe Staff Photo / Barry Chin As Red Sox pitcher Erik Bedard recently found out, how your ex chooses to serve you with family court papers can be private or very public. As described by the New York Post, Bedard was served with a child-support case by a constable (who happened to be a Yankees fan) at Fenway Park before taking the mound for the Red Sox last week. Serving him at work was not required, but might be your preference if you're a Yankees fan. What are the requirements for service of Divorce or other Family Court Complaints? Whether or not you tell your spouse you want a divorce before you serve them with the divorce papers is a personal choice (covered by our previous post: How should I tell my spouse that I want a Divorce? ). Once a divorce (or other domestic relations) action is begun, though, there is a legal process to ensure that the opposing party is properly served with the Complaint. The Court will provide you with a Summons which must be served o
Starting this past Monday, thirty-eight courts in Massachusetts began cutting hours for clerks and registers due to budget cuts, staff shortages, and backlogs. The reduction in hours are said not to affect court sessions and that staff offices will be available for emergencies. The following district courts will have restricted counter and telephone coverage: Attleboro, Barnstable, East Brookfield, Fall River, Framingham, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Natick, Newburyport, Palmer, Somerville, Springfield, Stoughton, Taunton, Uxbridge, Waltham, Westborough, Woburn and Wrentham. The Western Division of the Housing Court and the Springfield Divisions of the Juvenile Court and Land Court will similarly have restricted counter and telephone coverage. All Probate & Family Courts will have restricted hours after 3:00 P.M. Source: The Patriot Ledger: " 38 Massachusetts courts reduce public office hours because of budget cuts "
Yesterday, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the Alimony Reform Act of 2011, meaning that its only remaining hurdle before becoming law (although it has an effective date of March 1, 2012) is Governor Patrick's signature. Governor Patrick has previously indicated his support for the bill. For more information about the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 check out MassAlimonyFormula.com
There are currently six pending bills which would make significant changes to the current Massachusetts custody statute and they have all been reviewed in depth in this forum over the last few weeks. If you need a quick cheat sheet for how they compare, below you will find a table that summarizes the proposed changes in each bill.
For our recommendations, keep reading after the table.
Current Law Proposed Bill Proposed Change P1 – P5 Definitions of Custody S.659 Shared physical custody definition changed to state “child shall reside equally”, and adds definition of “parenting plan”. S.847 Definitions Deleted Entirely H.1306 & H. 2684 No Change H.1330 H.2244 P6 – Rights of Parents held equal absent misconduct. Court shall consider adverse effects of past or present living situation. S.659 Delete Paragraph Entir