Questions

Can I Change My Original Divorce Agreement?

There are two ways to request modifications to your original divorce agreement and/or subsequent Judgments entered by the Court. The first method, if the requested change is mutually agreed upon, is by filing a Joint Petition to Modify a Prior Judgment, along with your executed agreement for judgment. To the extent that the requested change involves financial matters, both parties will be required to complete and file updated financial statements with the court. The second method, if the requested change is not agreed upon, is facilitated by the filing of a complaint for modification with the court. Once the summons is received from the Court, a copy of the summons

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What does it mean to be “held in contempt” by the court?

Contempt is a tool used by Probate and Family Courts to enforce compliance with court orders. In the event one party is not following a court-appointed order, the other party can file a Complaint for Contempt with the court. This process requires the initiating party to show that the other party (the defendant) is in willful violation of a clear and unequivocal order. Someone who violates or disobeys a court order risks being held in contempt by the court. Such violations may include failing to pay alimony or child support or refusal to comply with a parenting schedule ordered by the court. To the extent that a party is adjudicated

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What to do when your ex refuses to comply with your parenting schedule?

Once you’ve completed the process of going through a divorce, settling on child support, and agreeing to a parenting schedule, you’d think you can finally move forward and start your new life. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. When you’re facing the frustrating reality that your ex simply won’t comply with your legally binding agreements, whether that be alimony payments or a parenting schedule, you have options. Massachusetts residents can file a complaint for contempt to address non-compliance with temporary orders and final judgments. Understanding the ins and out of contempt proceedings is an essential part of litigation in the Probate and Family Court, which is why working with an

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If my ex purchased our marital home before we were married, can I request the house as part of my divorce settlement?

The simple answer is yes, you can request the marital home as part of your divorce settlement. However, divorcing couples may request specific assets during the division of property, but that doesn’t mean their request will be awarded. Massachusetts law requires the division of property in a divorce to be equitable. This means property division must be fair, though not necessarily equal. Massachusetts law allows a judge to divide all property regardless of when it was acquired or which spouse actually owns it. When dividing assets, such as property, a judge will consider the length of the marriage, the present and future needs of any dependent children, each spouse’s income

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Am I Allowed to Date if My Divorce is Pending?

Divorce can be a lengthy process, and for many divorcing couples, the marriage is over emotionally long before a divorce is legally pursued. It’s not uncommon for a spouse to consider dating while their divorce is pending. The short answer to the question ‘to date or not to date’ is that there is no law in Massachusetts that prevents spouses from dating after separating or divorcing. So yes, you are allowed to date when your divorce is pending. However, before diving into the dating pool, you should be aware of the potential legal and financial consequences. Keep in mind, under the law, you are considered to be legally married until

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What is co-parenting, and how do we do it once we are divorced?

Co-parenting describes a parenting relationship in which the two parents of a child are not romantically involved but still assume joint responsibility for their child’s upbringing. The extent to which parents can effectively co-parent significantly impacts how children will adjust to the transitions associated with a separation or divorce. Parents are responsible for major-life decisions, like those concerning religion, discipline, finances, morality, recreation, physical health, education, and emergencies. Whether married or divorced, agreement on these matters can differ but should be discussed and made jointly. It’s not uncommon for parents to be uncooperative with one another during a divorce. This usually stems from hurt feelings or unresolved anger, grief, or

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What is a Guardianship?

Guardianship is a legal arrangement that allows one party—whether that be a concerned individual, a lawyer, or even an organization—to make personal and legal decisions on behalf of an individual who is not fully capable of doing so himself or herself. This is in contrast to a conservatorship, which grants the right to make financial decisions and handle the financial assets of an individual who is not able to do so. Where large amounts of money are involved, a conservator is usually appointed alongside a guardian. Often a guardian and conservator will work together to make sure the guardian has enough funds on hand to provide for the daily needs

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Will I lose my health insurance coverage when my divorce is finalized?

Many families elect to have Group Insurance coverage under a single spouse provided by their employer. This means one spouse is the primary policyholder of a medical insurance plan, and the rest of the family is covered under that one plan. During a divorce, the question arises as to how the other spouse, and children, will be covered by medical insurance. Massachusetts law does allow the dependent spouse to remain on the insured spouse’s private employer-sponsored group plan after divorce and legal separation. However, this only applies to insured plans. This is why it is important to understand the type of coverage fulfilled by a policy. For example, employer-sponsored group

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How to Get a Protective Order Against an Abusive Partner or Spouse

Domestic abuse is a serious and even life-threatening situation—and there are legal remedies to help survivors protect themselves, their children, and their property as they make the brave decision to escape an abusive situation and begin moving forward with their lives. One of the most important tools available to victims of domestic abuse is the restraining order. In Massachusetts, a restraining order is known as a an “Abuse Prevention Order” or a “209A Order.” This name refers to Chapter 209A of the Massachusetts legal code, entitled the Massachusetts Abuse Prevention Act, which defines domestic abuse. According to Chapter 209A, domestic abuse may be: 1. Physical violence 2. Attempts to harm

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Does Massachusetts divide property equally between the spouses during a divorce?

Rather than divide marital property equally, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ family law code seeks to divide it equitably. Massachusetts defines “marital property” as any property—be it income, assets, real estate, or everyday items—that comes into possession of the couple or either of the spouses individually during the course of the marriage. This could include trade secrets, stock holdings, and artistic creations. For individuals of high net worth, or those who make their living by possessing valuable intellectual property, it is especially valuable to have a prenuptial agreement in place to keep this property separate from that held in common in the marriage. In deciding what is an “equitable” division of

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