Avoid These 5 Pitfalls of Buying a Home

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1. Don’t make an offer without a preapproval from a mortgage lender. A seller might not even consider your offer if you do not have a preapproval. A preapproval shows a seller you are serious, and that you are creditworthy. It also provides you with an idea of what you can truly afford to pay as a monthly mortgage payment, so you won’t waste your time looking at houses you cannot afford.

 

2. Have an attorney early on in the process. Most buyers don’t realize that in Massachusetts, the “offer” is a binding contract entered into before you sign a binding Purchase and Sale Agreement. There are important terms and dates that are contained in the offer such as the date by which you must secure financing, and the date of the closing. Generally, these cannot be changed in the Purchase and Sale Agreement. Consult a lawyer as you begin your home search to ensure s/he assists you in determining things to include in your offer.

 

3. Don’t forget to specifically inquire about the extra costs of owning the home you are interested in, such as fuel, energy, trash removal, and such. These costs can add hundreds of dollars monthly to the cost of living in your home. For example, a home with electric heat can add $300-$700 a month in the winter months if the house is in a cooler climate.

 

4. Do not assume what is included or excluded in the sale as far as appliances and fixtures. Make sure your offer specifies what you want to be included in the sale such as appliances, window treatments, and blinds, and what you want removed from the house.

 

5. Don’t assume you can just work with the realtor who listed the house. A home sale transaction can involve one or two realtors; A realtor who lists the home (listing realtor) and one who works with the Buyer. Although a listing realtor can successfully complete a sale leaving both Buyer and Seller happy, to ensure your desires are understood and your needs are satisfied, find a realtor to work directly with you.

Here at Ryan Faenza Carey, whether you are buying, selling or refinancing a property, we can help. Call Attorney Anne Marie Corraro for assistance at 508-668-9112.

Grounds for Divorce – “Fault” v. “No Fault”

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Parties to a divorce often have difficulty filing for divorce under no fault grounds (Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage), particularly if they feel wronged in one way or another by their soon to be ex-spouse. Filing a divorce under irretrievable breakdown is not an admission that there was no wrongdoing on the part of the other spouse, or that the other party should not be penalized in some manner when it comes to the division of the marital assets. Filing under irretrievable breakdown simply means the marriage is over for one or both of the parties and neither party’s conduct was so extreme as to warrant filing for divorce using one of the available fault-based grounds. The majority of divorces in Massachusetts do not contain fact patterns which warrant or require the filing of a Complaint for Divorce on fault-based grounds.

In addition to Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, the following fault-based grounds are available for a party to allege in filing for divorce:

  • Adultery;
  • Impotency;
  • Desertion of at least one (1) year;
  • Gross and confirmed habits of intoxication;
  • Cruel and abusive treatment;
  • Grossly or wantonly and cruelly refusing or neglecting to provide suitable support and maintenance; or
  • Imprisonment of more than five (5) years.

Unlike filing under the grounds of irretrievable breakdown (no fault), the Court may not grant a Divorce when a Complaint is filed using one of the above referenced “fault based” grounds. Filing for divorce under “fault” based grounds requires the moving party to prove to the court that all of the elements of the particular grounds are met.

If you are considering filing for divorce, whether under fault-based grounds or under the grounds of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage you should consult with an attorney who concentrates in divorce and family law prior to filing.

The Perfect Client is there to Help Themselves Through a Divorce

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Divorce is messy, overwhelming, scary, and hard. A qualified attorney can help clients navigate the process, but the most successful divorces occur when clients help themselves. Here are the things we strongly recommend to anyone facing or currently undergoing a divorce. We are certain it relieves the burden-both long and short term- of this major life event.

 

  1. Engage an attorney you trust, tell your attorney the truth about everything, and follow his/her instructions and recommendations.

 

  1. Understand that divorce is a process and does take time; buckle up for the ride and resist the urge to “just get it over with.”

 

  1. Leave your kids out of it—protect them, nurture their relationship with you and with your soon to be ex and take the high road in all respects—parent them first.

 

  1. Be reasonable. Spending $100 in legal fees to chase $50 is a waste of your time. Be willing to cut your losses where it is practical to do so. Don’t go to trial or fight endlessly over something for which you have a low likelihood of success.

 

  1. Decide what matters most, and negotiate your divorce agreement according to those priorities.

 

  1. Have reasonable expectations. In a good divorce, BOTH parties walk away unhappy. You will not get everything you want. Be prepared to compromise.

 

  1. Reach an agreement before appearing before a judge, if at all possible. Even a bad agreement is better than a good trial. You and your spouse, with the help of competent attorneys, are in the best position to negotiate a divorce agreement that is tailor made to your family. You will not have that luxury with a Judge.

 

  1. Be civil, and don’t burn your bridges. Ultimately the best thing for you, your soon to be ex and your children is for you and your soon to be ex to communicate and be able to deal civilly with one another. The investment you make in having a civil relationship will come back to you a hundred-fold in the future.  Don’t make anyone the bad guy—even if they deserve it. Civility is a huge investment in reaching resolution and staying out of Court both now, and in the future.

If you’re facing a divorce and in need of legal support, contact RFC today.

 

Debunking Myths: 5 Frustrating Realities About Divorce

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  1. There are no punitive damages. Not for extra-marital affairs, not for being the spouse seeking the divorce, and generally not for other conduct unless it has a significant impact on the health or finances of the parties or children.

 

  1. What goes around comes around. If you disparage your spouse to your children and to others in order to cause pain to your spouse, it is likely to cause significant long term pain to your children, and ultimately to you as well, causing wounds which may never heal. More about how to handle divorce with your children in Silver Linings, the book.

 

  1. Alimony is gender neutral. For the successful higher earning men and women of Massachusetts, you may pay alimony to your soon to be ex in a divorce.

 

  1. You can’t have it both ways. An equitable divorce in the eyes of the law may be one in which both parties walk away feeling unhappy.   For every benefit there is generally a corresponding burden. Your idea of “fair” may not comport with the Court’s view of fairness.

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  1. You can’t “stop” a divorce. We have no fault divorce in Massachusetts.   If one spouse wants a divorce, a divorce will be granted, even over the objections of the other.

Homes of Divorce: It’s Not Broken, Just Different

I am a divorce attorney. I help clients restructure their lives after they have decided to divorce. I don’t cause divorce or advocate divorce; I do my best to help people in pain try to put their lives back together and establish a “new normal”. I have the privilege of making a difference to people who are in transition.

Each time I hear divorce described as a “broken” family or a “broken” home, I shudder.

Divorce is nothing more than restructuring of lives and families into two homes instead of one. The parties to a divorce and their children all remain whole—their family just looks different. Divorce is a decision—sometimes voluntary and sometimes involuntary. It is no different than any other decision in one’s life, but it can be one fraught with anxiety and concern.

It presents emotional, financial and legal challenges. It causes wounds that often take time to heal. But people, and families, move on and they do heal. They restructure. Parents and children from divorced homes are no less healthy or dysfunctional than parents and children from intact homes.

When a couple makes the decision to divorce, it disrupts the status quo. Decisions must be made, and there are many interests to protect. Most people have no experience with divorce before it happens to them. As a divorce attorney, I guide clients through one of the most difficult experiences they will ever encounter. There are more questions than answers. Where will everyone live? How will the children be cared for? How will we decide parenting time with the children? How much will each parent provide in financial support and for how long? Who will pay for college? How will medical and dental insurance be provided for the family? Will there be life insurance protection if one parent dies? How will the family home, retirement plans and other assets be divided? Who will assume the debts and mortgages? If circumstances change in future years, how will that affect our rights and responsibilities?

I am proud to be a lawyer, and proud to represent men and women from all walks of life in restructuring their families during and after divorce. At Ryan Faenza Carey, our attorneys offer patience, understanding, and sensitivity. We provide competent, professional guidance for our clients through the emotionally charged journey of divorce, with a view toward arriving at a prompt and amicable settlement wherever possible, so that our clients’ lives may begin anew.