Armstrong Law, P.C.

Lowell Massachusetts Family Law Blog

Why does the date of separation matter?

When divorcing in Massachusetts, people are often surprised to know that the end of the marriage is counted in two ways. The first is the date of separation and the second is the actual finalization of divorce. But, why does it matter when you separated? Does it have any legally binding consequences?

Forbes points out that in many instances, it does. Assets and debts accrued between the wedding day and the date of separation belongs to both parties. Assets and debts accrued after the date of separation belongs to the respective individuals.

Tips for fathers who want joint or sole custody

A heavily contested Massachusetts divorce can be emotionally draining for everyone involved. This is especially true if each parent wants full custody of their children. At Armstrong Law, P.C., we have experience representing clients in the areas of visitation and child custody and finding a positive solution.

Although mothers often receive primary custody of their children, according to VeryWell Family, fathers can file for full or joint custody. For many dads, this is an uphill battle. Here are some tips that may help show the court your commitment to your children.

  • If you and your ex have already agreed on child support payments, keep making them, even if it is an informal arrangement. Maintain accurate records, such as keeping receipts, written confirmation of payments by the mom or proof that she cashed a check.
  • Keep a record of when you spend time with your child. If there is not already a parenting plan in place, develop one and submit it to the court.
  • Attend school functions, social gatherings and other important events. Call or speak with your children often, know their friends and become familiar with their teachers and other important people in their lives. Ensure that they know you are there for them if they need you. The courts consider your relationship when making custody decisions.
  • Ensure your child has their own space in your home. It is critical that there are adequate living accommodations if you wish to obtain joint or primary custody.

What should I include in my prenup?

So, you are one of the many Massachusetts residents that opt to sign a prenuptial agreement each year. After the initial challenge of discussing the matter with your partner and perhaps getting them to agree, you are probably now wondering what to include in your prenup.

According to the American Bar Association, a good starting point is not the prenup itself but each other’s financial situation. The ABA specifically recommends taking a look at your partner’s credit reports. Both partners should also make a list of all their assets and all their debts.

Keeping your financial situation stable during your divorce

You have heard the stories about people suffering financially as they struggle to cope with the drastic aftermath of their divorce. Now, you are looking for ways to boost your own financial situation and prevent your divorce from creating too much strain so you can continue to live a comfortable life. At Armstrong Law, P.C., we are committed to helping people in Massachusetts to work through their divorce as quickly as possible with minimal repercussions. 

Your finances will undoubtedly be rocked by your decision to get divorced from your spouse. Separating all of the financial accounts that you and your spouse have shared including retirement benefits often requires time and analysis to guarantee that both of you are able to get a fair settlement. During this time, you will need to be careful about how much money you spend and what you spend it on. Additionally, it is imperative that you keep accurate and detailed financial records so you can confidently know where your money is going. 

What happens to your family business when you divorce?

If one of the marital assets you and your spouse own in Massachusetts is a family business, what happens to it when you divorce likely will become a major issue. If you are like most couples, your family business represents not only your greatest asset, but also the one that provides most, if not all, of your family income. Consequently, how you split it up undoubtedly will have lasting consequences for both of you.

Forbes reports that divorcing couples usually have the following three options when it comes to splitting up their family business:

  1. Sell it and divide the proceeds
  2. One spouse buys out the other spouse
  3. You both continue to own the business

Should you have a prenup?

If you are getting married in Massachusetts you are probably not thinking about divorce, and a prenuptial agreement may be the last thing on your mind. However, having one can protect you and your spouse from losing key assets or from gaining debt in the event your marriage does break apart. Even in the happiest of relationships, a prenup can be beneficial.

According to Money.com, a prenuptial agreement is not only for the rich. First, it forces you to have tough, but important, conversations about finances. If divorce never occurs, having these conversations early on can help and strengthen your marriage, especially during hard times. In the event of divorce, a prenup allows you both to be in control of what happens to your finances rather than letting the courts decide. 

Filing for divorce right after you move

People end their marriages for countless reasons and at different times in their lives. For example, some may push off their divorce until their kids have reached adulthood, while others may end their marriage after being married for a matter of months. Some people are in unique situations too, such as those who decide that their marriage needs to come to an end after recently relocating to a new home, a new city or even a different state. If you have recently moved with your spouse, there are different considerations you should go over when it comes to the divorce process.

For starters, you should be aware of the different stressors you may face during the divorce process. For some people, these can be even more challenging because of a difficult move they have recently been through. Furthermore, it is important to remember that some marriages fall apart after relocation for different reasons. For example, the stress associated with moving may cause a marriage to break down, or a couple may fight because one spouse wants to move back to the city they used to live in. Moving, along with divorce, can be very difficult and it is imperative to approach these matters from the right angle.

When children overhear talk of a divorce

Ending your marriage could present many challenges, whether you have uncertainty about how your future will be affected once you split up with your spouse or you have concerns about legal matters. However, all of these worries can be eclipsed by other issues, such as the impact your divorce may have on your child. Ending a marriage can be difficult for children, and they may wonder how their life will be affected by this huge life decision. Moreover, you may find yourself in a position where you have to explain your divorce to your kids even though you were not ready to tell them about it.

Sometimes, when parents argue and talk about divorce issues, kids overhear. Some children may keep what they heard to themselves, while others may become very emotional and have many questions. As a parent, you should try to protect your child and ensure his or her well-being, especially from an emotional standpoint when you are dealing with divorce matters. After all, this can be a time full of uncertainty and anxiety for children.

Domestic violence and child custody decisions

When there is domestic violence in the household, there can be lasting negative effects on the children. When processing a divorce in Massachusetts and figuring out child custody, the courts will look closely at any abuse report and take into consideration what is in the best interest of the child. When abuse is a factor in the decision-making process, the courts may grant supervised visitation to the accused abuser in order to keep both the child and ex-spouse safe.

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, domestic violence can have serious effects on younger and older children in the home. Some of the issues children have include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased levels of aggression
  • Social isolation
  • Confusion as to what is acceptable behavior
  • Loss of empathy for others
  • Decline in mental health 

Post-divorce communication with your ex

Many people know how important communication is during a marriage, and when a couple is unable to discuss things with each other this can lead to a divorce. Some people also talk with each other while they are in the process of splitting up, such as those who work with a divorce mediator. However, you may want to keep in touch with your ex after the divorce for many reasons. In this blog, we will examine some of the reasons why it may be important to maintain healthy communication with your former spouse, if you are able to.

When two people have kids, communication can be essential even if they are no longer married or living together. For example, you may need to reach out to your spouse over an issue regarding the division of child custody. You and your spouse may be able to work out various custody-related matters and ensure that your kids are being raised in a healthy environment that is good for them physically and mentally. You may also want to reach out to your spouse regarding child support or alimony payments, whether you are struggling to stay caught up or you are not receiving the payments that your former spouse owes you.

Armstrong Law, P.C.
27 Central Street
Lowell, MA 01852

Phone: 978-614-0965
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