Armstrong Law, P.C.

Lowell Massachusetts Family Law Blog

Financial and emotional challenges women face after divorce

Couples in Massachusetts going through a divorce may face different challenges. Evidence suggests that some of the obstacles faced by women are not faced in the same way by men. An example of this is the financial challenges that many women face after divorce.

In a recent survey, women were asked to rank their concerns about divorce. Not surprisingly, money concerns ranked on the top of the list. For many women, concerns about money were greater than concerns about their children. It could be argued that this reflects the fact that money concerns are intertwined with child caring concerns women may have after divorce.

What to do about a difficult coparent

When parents in Massachusetts get a divorce, they may still be linked for years by their children. If one parent is narcissistic and manipulative, this relationship can be very difficult. Parents need to find a way to be reliable for their children and not let the other parent's behavior get to them.

In order to do this, parents must set boundaries. They are not obligated to respond to the other parent's messages immediately. Furthermore, they do not have to respond to anything that is not directly about the children. Parents should notice how their arguments start and escalate and learn to disengage before this happens. Many parents set specific limits on what medium can be used to communicate. For example, they might only respond to emails but not to text messages. There are also online portals and other tools that can be used to facilitate communication between parents after divorce. One advantage is that they document that communication. Parents not using these tools should consider doing their own documentation.

Options for keeping or selling a home in a divorce

Couples in Massachusetts who are going through a divorce may share a home. Deciding what to do with it can be an emotional process, but there are a few options. They can sell it and split the proceeds. One spouse can keep it. Or they might continue to share ownership.

If they sell the home, both the individuals should have the financial stability to rent or buy a new place. They should also be aware that if they make a profit, they may have to pay the capital gains tax on it. If one spouse keeps the home, this usually involves that person buying out his or her ex. The house will need to be appraised first, and the couple must agree on its value. This may include agreeing on whether expenses associated with a future sale or capital gains taxes will be accounted for. Furthermore, it may also be necessary to refinance the home to ensure that the other spouse is removed from the mortgage. This allows for a clear financial separation between the two parties.

Look at all of the facts before a strategic divorce

Many couples in Massachusetts may find it odd to talk about getting a divorce in order to save some money. However, some people have felt that it is in their best interests to divorce on paper in order to save money or to qualify for certain benefits through government organizations. Before a person makes their decision, they will want to weigh both sides of the matter.

High-earning couples may be concerned about the way the so-called "marriage penalty" will affect the amount of money they have to pay in taxes. This is a higher tax liability that affects individuals who file their taxes together and have a taxable income in the 37% bracket. Other couples decide to divorce on paper in order to qualify for certain benefits that can save them a lot of money. For example, if one spouse is sick or needs nursing home care, the couple may not qualify for Medicaid together because of their income and assets. However, one spouse may qualify if the couple were to divorce and the sick individual had a low income.

Seeking an annulment as a Catholic becomes easier

Divorce is a touchy subject among Catholics in Massachusetts and the rest of the world. In fact, disagreements on the subject of divorce caused many other denominations to spring up and separate from the church, perhaps most notably, the Anglicans. This is because the Catholic church generally treats marriage as a permanent arrangement unless the spouses receive an annulment.

USA Today explains that in the Catholic church, for an annulment to take place, a church tribunal must declare that a marriage once considered valid actually failed to meet at least one essential criteria. Without this, separated or divorced spouses cannot remarry. The church may consider a Catholic who remarries an adulterer as the new marriage is not valid and the old one is technically not resolved by its standards.

Mistakes couples often make during the divorce process

Going through a divorce in Massachusetts is usually an emotional and stressful process, and it is even worse when there are kids involved. Unfortunately, these emotions can get in the way of making important decisions, and this can lead to unwanted results or unintended financial consequences.

It helps to be aware of common mistakes many couples make so that others going through a divorce can avoid them.

How to request a child custody modification

During divorce proceedings for parents in Massachusetts, a judge typically makes a decision regarding child custody. However, if at some point after the divorce is final one or both of the parents want to change the decision, they need to go through the proper channels to request a modification.

According to the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the court determines sole or joint custody based on the best interest of the child. Some considerations for this include the child's relationship with each parent, the ability of each parent to provide for the child, the mental and physical health of the parents, the proposed living situation and the age of the child. However, after the initial decision, situations may change for one or the other parent. For example, one's income may change, or work schedules may interfere with custody time. When this occurs, either parent, or a third party on behalf of the child, may request a modification to the original custody plan.

The different types of custody arrangement to consider

When filing for custody of a child in Massachusetts, many parents become so caught up in the general tasks that they forget the specifics. According to Mass.gov, parents need to consider the differences between legal and physical child custody. They also need to understand parenting time arrangements and the four custody types allowed in the state.

Sole physical custody allows the child to live with one parent while maintaining reasonable parenting time with the other. In cases of shared physical custody, the child may have the opportunity to live with both parents. Sole legal custody provides one parent with the responsibility of making all the major decisions that affects the child, including health care and education. Finally, shared legal custody includes both parents in the decision-making process.

Your business partner’s divorce can affect your company

There are many risks associated with business partnerships in Massachusetts. One that catches many business partners by surprise is the risk of their partner’s divorce. These entrepreneurs may have taken every step to protect the company via prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, solid estate plans and even a succession plan. However, if their business partner failed to take similar steps, a divorce may cost them both a good chunk of the business.

Forbes notes that most states consider a business a marital asset. This means that during a divorce, that business may be subjected to division like any other asset. This may cause the divorcing partner to lose some of their stake in the business to the ex-spouse.

Penalties on back child support in Massachusetts

When it comes to child support payments in Massachusetts, many people consider the Bay State as one of the toughest. For example, the Mass.gov website warns that the state may still take actions against parents who fall behind, even if they make voluntary extra contributions to their past-due balance every week.

The state views past-due child support as an installment debt and requires parents to use their assets to pay off this debt as soon as possible. Not even social security disability and unemployment insurance checks remain immune to child support deductions.

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