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Showing posts from May, 2013

Can I get Divorced in Massachusetts if I was married in another country?

Assuming you are a resident of Massachusetts for 1 year, or you meet one of the other jurisdictional requirements to have your case heard in Massachusetts , the fact that your marriage was solemnized in another country will not usually make a difference. With a few exceptions (such as g oing to a foreign jurisdiction to get married when you wouldn't be considered competent in MA ), a foreign marriage is recognized as a legal marriage in MA so long as it is recognized as a legal marriage in the country of the marriage.  Under M.G.L. c. 207 s 36 you can file a foreign marriage certificate with your town clerk to have it recorded, if you want vital records to have a record of your marriage. However, that usually isn't necessary in order to file a divorce.  You just have to file an original or a certified copy of the marriage certificate with the Complaint for Divorce.  If the original or certified copy is not in English then I would also recommend having a certified transla

Can a parent visit their children if there is a restraining order protecting the other parent?

In a recent Supreme Court decision,  Moreno vs. Naranjo , SJC-11070 (2013)  , the SJC dismissed an appeal as moot for a 209A order that had expired, but addressed the underlying issue anyway in order to provide guidance to District Court judges.  In  Moreno  the District Court judge had considered the impact of the order on visitation and had ordered a 6 month order instead of 1 year because of the likely impact of the order on the relationship between the defendant and the child.  The SJC indicated that this consideration was improper. In deciding the length of an order, the only consideration should be the "time reasonably necessary to protect from abuse the plaintiff or any child in the plaintiff's care or custody."   This doesn't mean that an order can't include provisions for visitation, but only that the impact the order has on visitation shouldn't affect the choice to issue the order or for how long.  That choice is dependent solely on the necessity

Should you Give your Ex-Wife a Mother's Day Card?

UPDATE: There is at least one company now offering greeting cards designed specifically for ex's:   If you don't live in the NY/NJ area you may have to order online, but if you plan ahead you could really make an impression on your ex. Original Post: I stopped at the grocery store yesterday to pick up a few items.  Since this weekend we celebrate Mother's day I made the obligatory trip down the greeting card aisle.  Of course, the seasonal section was a sea of pastel colored cards ranging from religious to sappy to funny (or appropriately politically correct kinda-funny).  There were cards separated into sections "For My Wife", "From Daughter", "From Son", for grandmothers and even great-grandmothers. But there weren't any cards in the aisle labeled "For My Ex-Wife." Why not? One Judge in Plymouth County has a standard speech he gives divorcing spouses right before he approves their final div

Who pays for health insurance after the divorce?

Even if you can stay on an ex-spouse's health insurance ( which we cover in this previous post ), there are two potential costs of staying on an ex-spouse's insurance. The first is the actual cost of the plan. If the plan participant would qualify for a lower cost plan, for instance if the plan participant is single with no children, then the "additional cost" must be paid by either the plan participant or their ex-spouse. Usually the ex-spouse seeking this coverage will pay the "additional cost" but this must be defined in a court order or agreement. In addition, the IRS defines excludaible fringe benefit costs to include only costs for spouses and other dependents. Ex-spouse coverage is not excludible and is therefore a taxable benefit. Although often overlooked by employers, many employers have started to treat these ongoing benefits to ex-spouses as taxable income to the employee. For more information about the taxation of health insurance benefi

What is the standard for amending child support orders?

The process for amending a family court order in Massachusetts begins with the filing of a Complaint for Modification .  If you are able to reach agreement on the amendment of a child support order, you can save time in court by filing an administrative action called a Joint Petition for Modification of Child Support.  Although this process may soon be available for other joint modifications, right now it is only allowed for child support, as we discussed in this previous post . If you are unable to reach an agreement, then the court will decide if an amendment to your support order is appropriate.  The typical standard for amending a court order is  whether or not there has been a "significant material change in circumstances."   Up until recently, we often advised clients that a good rule of thumb for determining significance is whether or not the change in circumstances would result in a 20% change in the child support order. However, a 2013 SJC decision in Massachuset