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.

 

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?

Alimony

  • 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?

Taxes

  • 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?

Contingencies…

  • 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.

“Dads Matter”

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As Fathers Day approaches, it turns out Hallmark is not the only one who is focusing on dads.

In a 2014 book, author Paul Raeburn used scientific data to emphasize just how important dads can be to their children in families where there is a Mother and a Father.  The book; Do Fathers Matter:  What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked, uses data gathered by scientists to determine specifically how children benefit from their Fathers.

For example, on the subject of language development, the book suggests that Fathers matter more than Mothers in this area of child development.  A study revealed that when Fathers used more words with their children during play, the children had more advanced language skills a year later.  In particular, they found that the Fathers’ use of vocabulary when reading picture books to their children at 6 months of age was significantly related to the children’s expressiveness at 15 months and use of advanced language at age 3.  These facts held true no matter what the Mother’s educational level was or how she spoke to the children.

According to Raeburn’s quoted research, the rationale for these findings may be because Mothers generally spend more time with their children, are more attuned to their children and may choose words they are familiar with.  Fathers, who may be less attuned to their children, may use a broader vocabulary.  Another reason may be “novelty.”  Because Fathers often spend less time with their children, the time they do spend with their children may become more of a novelty and possibly more interesting for their children.

As divorce attorneys, we have always believed that two involved and loving parents should both have a role in their children’s lives.  Scientific data appears to support this belief.

From http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2015/0616/in-the-magazine/daddy-factor.html.  Based on the book; Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked, published in June by Scientific American, an imprint of Farrar, Straus, and Giroux LLC. © 2014 by Paul Raeburn. All rights reserved.

Did You Know?

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  • Did you know . . . A divorcing parent may not move a child or children out of state to live without permission of the child’s or children’s other parent, or order of a Court.  This means moving the child or children over the border to Rhode Island or New Hampshire as well as to a distant state or country.
  • Did you know . . . Tape recording a spouse (or other person) without his or her knowledge is a criminal offense.
  •  Did you know . . . A prenuptial agreement can trump the existing laws governing divorce, and estate rights, as long as certain protections have been provided for.
  •  Did you Know . . . Massachusetts is one of two states that include inherited property as part of property division in divorce.
  •  Did you know . . . There is an automatic restraining order which enters upon the filing and/or service of a divorce summons.  What this means is that once divorce is filed and the other party is notified (by the summons) that a divorce has been filed, either party cannot transfer or withdraw assets (money, stocks, bonds or other items of value) or change insurance.  There are some limited restrictions on this general rule.
  •  Did you know . . . That after a divorce is filed, both parties must provide a Financial Statement.
  • Did you know. . . The failure to list an asset (money, stocks, bonds or other items of value) on your Financial Statement in a divorce proceeding could expose you to a later division of that asset after the divorce.