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Showing posts from June, 2012

I've hired a Collaborative Attorney, how do I convince my spouse to hire a Collaborative Attorney too.

Collaborative Law has many advantages over litigation. It is usually far less expensive than going to trial.  When you go to court, much of your attorney's time will be spent on court strategy or on waiting to be heard in Court. Collaborative Law can help you avoid the backlog in the courts, allowing for a more expedient resolution. In addition to these practical concerns, though, Collaborative Law offers something that the Courts do not offer: the chance to resolve your case on your terms. If you are unable to settle your case in Court a Judge, essentially a stranger who will only meet you for a very limited period of time, will make major decisions about your life. Collaborative Law is your opportunity to make these decisions together. After all, who knows what is better for you and your family than you do. Instead of trying to convince your spouse of these advantages, we suggest that you simply request that your spouse interview an attorney who is trained in Collaborative la

When does a parent qualify for Retroactive Child Support?

In some instances a parent is not or has not been paying the amount of child support that they should be paying, and these circumstances can lead to different results depending on the history of the case. The first question that must be answered is whether or not there is a current order in place. Retroactive Support in Cases without Current Child Support Orders: If child support has never before been ordered, then in Massachusetts whether retroactive support will be due is dependent on whether or not the child in question was born out of wedlock. In Massachusetts divorce cases there is a presumption that spouses have been supporting each other and their children and therefore child support can only be requested in a divorce case after the date of service of the Complaint for Divorce unless the parties voluntarily agree otherwise.  For example, sometimes parties in a Mediation or Collaborative  negotiation will agree to a voluntary temporary child support during the negotiat

What happens after my Divorce Agreement is approved by a Judge?

If you filed a Joint Petition for Divorce in Massachusetts then you will participate in an uncontested divorce hearing and the Judge will then issue Findings of Fact the day of the hearing.  A Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue after thirty (30) days, and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This means that if you file a Joint Petition for Divorce you are not legally and officially divorced until 120 days after the divorce hearing date. If you filed a Complaint for Divorce  then your case will end either with a trial (if you don't settle) or an uncontested divorce hearing (if you settle).  If you reach an Agreement, then a Judgment of Divorce Nisi will issue and be effective as of the date of the uncontested divorce hearing, and it will become Absolute after a further ninety (90) days. This means that if you file a Complaint for Divorce you are not legally and officially divorced until 90 days after the divorce hearing date. Therefore, for 90 - 120 day

What is a QDRO?

QDRO stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order, and they are the vehicle by which retirement assets are transferred post-divorce. Retirement accounts are not typically transferable between anyone, even spouses, without tax consequences. In order to transfer funds held in a retirement account the owner must first remove them from the retirement account, which, if allowed by the rules of the plan, will result in taxable income and, prior to retirement age, tax penalties. However, in the event of a divorce the IRS allows for a one-time transfer by Qualified Domestic Relations Order (also known as a "QDRO") to avoid these taxes and penalties. A transfer of retirement account between former spouses pursuant to a QDRO results in a new retirement account held in the name of the other spouse (or "alternate payee") in the amounts and per the terms specified in the QDRO. The retirement income paid from said account will be taxable income upon receipt just as it woul

Getting some perspective while shaving my head!

The posts on this blog usually relate to updates in divorce law and advice on how to experience a better and less traumatic divorce.  Divorce is considered to be the second most traumatic event a person can experience, and we find that helping our clients get through that experience is fulfilling work. But last weekend, I participated in an event where many of the people had experienced the most traumatic type of life event: the loss of a family member to cancer.   At the One Mission Kid's Cancer Buzz-Off, 450 participants and their families gathered to support the families of kid's with cancer, and the event was an amazing success that I was honored to be a part of it. While I am lucky to have two healthy daughters, there was a time in my oldest daughter's life where she had to spend one month in the hospital.  It was the hardest thing my wife and I have ever experienced, and I can't imagine how hard it is for families with children in cancer treatment which

Seminar: Divorce and Trust Assets

We are pleased to announce that Attorney Kelsey will be speaking in an upcoming Strafford live phone/web seminar entitled: Divorce and Trust Assets: Support and Property Settlement Considerations Tuesday, June 19, 1:00pm-2:30pm EDT. Trusts present unique challenges when classifying and dividing marital assets in a divorce. Counsel must discover whether one of the parties to the marriage has an interest in a trust, the trust location, and the type of interest. The value of the trust and history of distribution to one of the parties can be relevant in determining support and asset division. Counsel should identify the type of trust, methods for valuing the parties' interest, and ways to reach or protect the beneficiary’s assets from a family law perspective. My fellow panelists and I will prepare family law practitioners with best practices to represent the interests of parties in discovering trusts and classifying a party’s interest in the trust as a marital asset. The p

Seminar: What Happens to the Marital Home During Divorce?

The Divorce Center Offers Seminar: What Happens to the Marital Home During Divorce The Divorce Center, a non-profit organization of professionals from multiple disciplines providing support and education for people going through separation or divorce, is offering a seminar entitled: “What Happens to the Marital Home During Divorce” on June 7, 2012 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Wellesley Free Library, 530 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA Carol Khouri, CFP, CDFA, a financial advisor with Wingate Wealth Advisors, will lead and moderate a panel of legal, mortgage and banking professionals who specialize in working with and representing divorcing couples and individuals.  The panel of speakers includes: Matthew P. Trask, Esq., Kelsey & Trask P.C., Framingham, MA; David M. Gaffin, MBA, senior loan officer, Greenpark Mortgage, A Division of Berkshire Bank, Needham, MA; and Barbie Jetter, MS, CPC, CDPP, regional lending manager, Bank of Canton, Canton, MA. 

What should I expect to learn at an Initial Divorce Consultation?

For many individuals who call our office, it is their first time speaking with an attorney.  They are nervous and know they need help with the divorce process but they have no idea what to expect. Our first goal of an initial consultation is to reduce that anxiety by helping you understand what to expect.  We do this by explaining some basics about how divorce works in Massachusetts, and by obtaining some basic information about your specific case and the issues that you may face in dissolving your specific marriage. Whether you meet with a mediator or an attorney for your divorce consultation, and whether the meeting is free or not, you should make sure that you are prepared to get the most out of that meeting.  To assist you in getting the most value out of your initial consultation we have prepared this list of helpful tips: TIPS to prepare for your initial consultation: 1. Bring with you the following documents, if you have access to them: A certified copy of your Marri