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Showing posts from March, 2012

Child Support v. Alimony - What happens when the non-custodial parent needs support?

We received the following question as an Anonymous Comment on our previous post:  Alimony Reform and Child Support: What will Change? How will you calculate child support in a case where the dependent spouse does not have physical custody and the incomes of the parties are grossly disparate? With the new Alimony Reform in Massachusetts taking effect on March 1, 2012, we have been hearing this question a lot.  Although it is an unusual situation to have the custodial parent also be the higher earning spouse, it does happen. Under the new Alimony statute: "For purposes of setting an alimony order, the court shall exclude from its income calculation: (1) Capital gain income and dividend and interest income which derives from assets equitably divided between the parties under Section 34; and (2) Gross income which the court has already considered for setting a child support order whether pursuant to the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines or otherwise; provided that n

Divorces with Disabled Spouses or Children: How a Special Needs Trust Can Help!

Guest Post Introduction: When a divorce case involves an incapacitated spouse or child, there are unique issues regarding the availability or qualification of that disabled individual for public benefits. When these issues arise it may be necessary for your divorce attorney to also consult with an expert in the area of special needs. Neal A. Winston is a partner at Moschella & Winston, LLP who has been practicing in the areas of special needs and public benefits law for over 30 years. Neal wrote the following guest post for us regarding: How a Special Needs Trust Can Help in cases with a Disabled Spouse or Child! Spouses and children receiving court-ordered support may also be eligible for needs-based public benefits such as MassHealth (Medicaid) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both programs are income sensitive, and support that is directly received, including child support to the custodial parent, can cause these benefits to be reduced or terminated. However,

How are Charitable Contributions treated in a Divorce?

In any divorce case in Massachusetts, whether contested or uncontested, you are required by Massachusetts Supplemental Probate Court Rule 401 to file a Financial Statement . The form of the financial statement which each party must complete is dependent upon his or her income. A party whose income equal or exceeds $75,000.00 must complete the long form financial statement . A party whose income is less than $75,000.00 must complete the short form financial statement . The long form is 9 pages long and requires more details than the 4-page short form.  The long form includes a line-item for Charitable Contributions deducted directly from your paycheck (on page 2) and a line-item for Charitable Contributions paid as part of your regular Weekly Expenses (on page 4).  If you make regular contributions that are deducted from your pay then those should be entered on page 2.  If you make regular contributions from your take-home income we suggest that you average those contributions

Should I pay for my divorce with a Credit Card?

Whether or not your divorce attorney accepts credit cards, you should consider whether it makes sense in your case to take advantage of that option. In many cases when a client pays with a credit card it just a matter of convenience or adding to their "miles".  However, in some cases, it is because they have no other option.  Going into debt to pay for your divorce attorney's costs should be done very cautiously.  While we believe that an attorney can provide a great benefit to parties in a divorce case, that benefit must be balanced against the cost of those services.  You don't want to end up figuratively paying for your divorce because you didn't get advice, or got bad advice, but you also don't want to literally being paying for your divorce for years if you can avoid it.  Here are some basic tips to avoid going into debt for your divorce: Try to Keep Costs Down You can assist your attorney in many ways, for instance by providing them timely with d

Reaction to Editorial claiming "New alimony law is bad for women"

Wendy Murphy , an adjunct professor at New England School of Law and a former prosecutor, wrote an editorial at entitled New alimony law is bad for women.   The article so poorly misstates what the law was in Massachusetts before The Alimony Reform Act of 2011 (which took effect on March 1, 2012), that I felt compelled to respond: New Law does not Eliminate Lifetime Alimony in all Cases. Ms. Murphy argues that the the new alimony law is unfair to women who are overwhelmingly the majority of alimony recipients because it limits the duration of alimony orders based on a formula.  She claims that the formula is arbitrary and that alimony "won't last a lifetime."  She admits that this is an oversimplification of the law, but it goes farther than that.  This is a misstatement of the new act because there are circumstances in which Judges can still order lifetime alimony, and in any marriage over 20 years the alimony order would be indefinite. Under Old Law, Li