Consider the Cost

Understanding Financial Implications of Today’s Divorce Options

Divorcing couples in today’s complicated modern world can face vastly different scenarios. Financial situations vary widely from case to case, as do reasons for the divorce and degree of cooperation between parties. Because of this reality, there is no one “right” way to recommend you approach divorce proceedings. Rather, it is best to consult an attorney to find out what your options are so you can decide what would be wisest in your particular case. Read More >>

Using Mediation or Collaborative Practice to Negotiate Child Support That Works for You

Once child support reaches the court, it becomes another instance of rolling the dice as far as the outcome is concerned. If parents want to retain more control of the process and have a say in the final outcome, they are well advised to look for alternate means.

While each state has set certain guidelines that must be applied when determining child support amounts, there is some flexibility (within certain limits) if the child support figure is determined through a negotiation process such as mediation or Collaborative Practice, as opposed to through a court order.

Here are two points to consider:

How Child Support Works in Massachusetts

While each of the 50 states is under a federal mandate to enforce specific child support guidelines, these guidelines can vary widely from state to state. They are reviewed every three years, to be updated if it is deemed prudent or necessary (though changes do not always result). Our guidelines here in Massachusetts were recently reviewed, and updated as of August 1, 2013.

Massachusetts child support guidelines are currently based on several key factors:

  • Gross income of both parties
  • Child care costs
  • Health care costs (including dental and vision) for both the child and the parents
  • Other potentially applicable situations, such as whether one party is already paying child support to children from a previous relationship


What the New Alimony Law May Mean for You

Divorce is understandably an emotionally triggered word, stirring up a host of powerful sentiments among all parties involved. Though it can be tempting to get lost in the emotional factors of the moment, it’s important that both husband and wife go in to negotiations with their eyes wide open, aware of all their options and potential liabilities.

Last year’s fundamental changes in Massachusetts alimony law make it all the more critical to understand clearly what the legal ramifications of divorce today can look like. So far, judges have been interpreting and applying this law in vastly different ways – perhaps quite unlike the original drafters intended. It will take time (some say even as much as 10 years) to sort out all the variances. Read More >>

Types of Alimony

With the passage of the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 and its subsequent enforcement starting March 1, 2012, Massachusetts couples contemplating or undergoing divorce have suddenly been presented with a wider array of alimony possibilities.

Those who sought divorce prior to the reform act only had one option: General Term. This periodic payment of support by the payor (stereotypically the man) to an economically-dependent recipient has been the widely accepted understanding for years of how alimony works. The duration of alimony didn’t vary much – in most cases, alimony was to be paid indefinitely.  Without a formula, the amount varied widely depending on the parties and, if they did not agree, the Judge. Read More >>

What Has Changed in Massachusetts Alimony Law

When a couple decides that they are heading for divorce, they often seek out mediation or Collaborative Practice to help them navigate uncertain waters.

As many begin to work through the process , they unknowingly harbor misconceptions about alimony that they may have picked up from their friends, relatives, or television.

Unfortunately, recent extensive changes in alimony law in Massachusetts mean that what may have been true in a friend’s situation a year ago has now been replaced with a radically different law that could be enforced or interpreted by a judge in a vastly different way. Read More >>