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.


  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.

How a Skilled Attorney Can Help You Navigate a Divorce

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A divorce involves much more than the granting of an actual divorce by a Court. There are many complexities depending on a couple’s circumstances that will have to be analyzed and accounted for in each individual divorce process. Here are some areas a divorce attorney can help you navigate specific to your situation.

Child support and related decisions

  • Who will have legal custody of the minor children, and allocation of parenting time between the parties to the divorce?
  • Who will carry the children’s health insurance, and who will pay for the health expenses of the children that are not covered by insurance?
  • How much child support will be paid by one parent to the other, and who will pay the expenses for the children?
  • Who will be responsible for college decisions and payment of college education for the children?
  • Life insurance is typically ordered by a court to secure the payment of support in the event one of the parents dies before the children are “emancipated”—which can be anywhere from age 18-23 for a child; how much life insurance should each parent maintain and for how long and who should be named as beneficiary?

Division of assets

  • What is the full list of assets in question? This can include the home, pensions and retirement plans, bank and investment accounts, inheritances, and many, many other assets, regardless of when or how they were acquired.
  • How will the assets be divided between the parties and what is the value of each of the assets?
  • Who will be responsible for any losses or gains on accounts or assets from the time of divorce to the time the assets are actually divided?
  • Who will be responsible for the mortgages, debts, credit cards and other liabilities?


  • Will one party pay alimony to the other, and for how long and under what circumstances?
  • Will that amount be subject to change?
  • If there is no provision for alimony, can either party petition the Court for alimony in the future?
  • Will one party be required to continue health insurance coverage for the other party, and who will pay the extra cost of that spouse’s coverage?
  • Will additional life insurance be required to secure the payment of alimony in the event of the death of the payor before the termination of alimony?


  • How will taxes work now that the couple is separated?
  • Will support be tax deductible/includable to the parties?
  • Who will receive a joint tax refund or make a joint tax payment?
  • Who will be entitled to take the income tax dependency exemption for the children?
  • Who pays the tax consequences of a stock or other account that has to be liquidated?
  • What about the capital gains tax on the house once it’s sold—who will be responsible for that?


  • A court has to decide whether an agreement between the parties will be permanent and binding, or more modifiable, and what happens if one party dies.
  • What happens if a party disobeys the orders of the Court?
  • A court will have to inquire into whether the parties have fully disclosed all of their assets and liabilities, and what happens if it is later determined that a party was hiding an asset or a debt?

The granting of a “judgment of divorce” is a simple procedure; however, the resolution of all of the above issues is far more complicated. Caution dictates that you secure the advice of a seasoned attorney who concentrates in divorce and family law to insure that your rights now and in the future are fully protected, and too be sure all of the above issues are discussed, identified and resolved.

If you do not deal with these issues at the time of your divorce, you may find yourself in Court over and over again wrestling with issues that should have been dealt with at the divorce. Contact Ryan Faenza Carey LLC for a consultation today. 

Family Law 101: What you Need to Know About Alimony

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At Ryan Faenza Carey, we support clients with very different factors that must be taken into consideration during family law matters, including divorce. In this post of a multi-part series, Attorney Kara Carey gives a download on how the MA Courts rule on alimony — and what factors play into the decision of when, how much, and to who alimony is paid out.

Do I have to pay alimony? Will I receive alimony?

…That depends. Since 2012, there have been significant changes in the Courts relative to alimony. Alimony Reform was enacted, but there was some ambiguity from the courts as to what the new laws meant. The Supreme Court of Massachusetts has already ruled on several cases regarding alimony, mainly related to alimony modifications and the differences between agreements before 2012 and agreement made after 2012. However, despite the new law, the basic premise of alimony remains: the recipient must show a need, and the payor must have an ability to pay.

In cases with no children (or no unemancipated children), if there is a discrepancy in the incomes of the parties, it is likely there will be an alimony order. How much will the order be? Generally, the high earner will pay between 30 – 35% of the difference in the incomes of the parties to the recipient.

However, that payment is tax deductible to the payor and taxable to the recipient. The amount can also vary from the above range in some circumstances. How long the payments last depends on the age of the parties, length of the marriage, and also, the Judge (see Chapter 208 Section34). If there are unemancipated children, child support may also factor into the equation. In these cases, there is no simple formula as the circumstances of the parties and the facts of each case largely impact how the Judge will view the overall support picture.

Financial matters in a divorce are very complex and fact dependent; consult with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your situation to make sure you understand your rights and exposure.

Alimony, of course, is determined based on the circumstances of every divorcing couple. Other questions? We’re happy to answer them. Contact us for a consultation.

If Columbus Was Alive Today, Would He Need Our Services?

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Yes, we think he would.  At the time of his great voyages to the new world, Christopher Columbus was a widower with two children; a 12 year old son, Diego as a result of his marriage to Filipa Moniz y Perestrello; (Filipa died in the time following the birth of Diego) and a 6 year old son Fernando as a result of his relationship with Beatriz Enriques de Trasierra – either a peasant or a noblewoman, depending on which history you read.

When he set sail, presumably Columbus would have made provisions for Diego. It is likely that Beatriz and her son would not have received support from Columbus as Fernando would be considered a child born out of wedlock and not favored in the eyes of the law at that time.  It is likely that Beatriz would have contacted an abogados(solicitor or lawyer) for help getting support for Fernando.  At the time he was due to set sail, Columbus was likely to have assets in the financing for his trip, as well as three ships, of which he was the Captain, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. He was also a favorite of the King and Queen of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella.  Surely, if Christopher was as bright as the famous poem portrays him to be, it is likely that he would have contacted an abogados and hopefully Ryan Faenza Cataldo, LLC would been available to assist him.