Divorce Questions & Answers

Can a divorce agreement be modified? What is the process?

Additional Information:

I had been living with my parents while we were separated and just moved into an apartment in Newton with our 18 month old son and am finding that the alimony and child support are insufficient. I’ve been divorced from my husband for 4 months.  Can the divorce settlement agreement be changed after finalization?  What is the process and is it difficult?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

It depends, and I would have to read the Settlement Agreement in your divorce to learn more.  Certain language in Settlement Agreements can make altering them more difficult. Was the child support established by the Probate & Family Court using the child support guidelines?  How did you arrive at the amount of alimony?  Are you working now?   I would like to speak to you further. [Read more…]

What is the best way to handle financial matters in a divorce?

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What is the best way to handle finances and separation of assets in a divorce?  My wife and I just separated and she is currently an at home mom in Brookline. We’ve figured out a schedule in regard to the children but don’t know how to handle expenses and splitting assets.

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

The best method is for both you and your wife to fill out a court financial form (I can send them to you or you can download them from our Web site), and figure out precisely what the income and expenses are for your wife and your children, and for you and the home where you are living.  Then try to work out a fair and informal arrangement between you and your wife.  When you decide to file for divorce you or your wife may file what are called “Temporary Orders” for support.  However, you should plan carefully for Temporary Orders as they can often become the basis of a permanent order in a divorce settlement.  [Read more…]

We’re going to get divorced, and husband has been spending lavishly.

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My husband married me for my family’s money.  We’ve been married for 5 years, have 3 kids and a house worth $2.5 M in Brookline, MA.  He always took care of the finances and I just found out that he has been spending lavishly, bought himself a new sports car and essentially has depleted our checking accounts.  Will his behavior be considered as we figure out how to divide our property and remaining assets?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

The short answer is probably not.  And how do you know your husband married you for your money?  A more nuanced answer is that a response to your questions would depend on several factors and gathering more information.  It depends on the precise nature of your husband’s spending.  What did he spend lavishly to buy?  Did you enjoy any of the items he spent lavishly to buy? Did your children?  Was there infidelity in the marriage and did he spend to impress or romance a new girlfriend?  How much did your husband spend, and what are the remaining assets?  [Read more…]

Does it seem like his divorce lawyer is going to seek sole custody of our daughter?

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My husband and I are getting divorced. We’ve been amicable toward one another, he is even still living in our home in West Roxbury, so I was surprised when I received papers from his attorney stating negative things about me that my spouse denies.  We have a 7 year old daughter and we agreed to be respectful of one another as we go through the divorce for her sake. Does it seems like his lawyer is setting it up to ask for sole custody?   My lawyer doesn’t think so, but I wanted to get a second opinion.

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

I doubt that your husband’s attorney is seeking sole custody.  The negative statements in the court papers may merely reflect your husband’s attorney’s combative style.    It is important to know that “custody”, covers two legal concepts.  The first is “physical custody”, i.e., which parent does your daughter live with and when.  The second is “legal custody”, i.e., the authority to have a say in your daughter’s health, welfare and education.  It is becoming more rare for a court to award sole physical and legal custody to one parent.  Increasingly, parents are sharing both physical and legal custody.  Do you and your husband both plan to remain in Greater Boston after the divorce?  Will you both be in the same town or neighborhood?  Physical proximity can ease many of the physical custody issues that can arise post-divorce.  [Read more…]

My ex husband has been in contempt of divorce decree for years.

Additional Information:

He has never paid for medical insurance, alimony or child support.  He has the means to pay and has finally been paying child support of $500 a month and ignoring the rest saying “oh, well she’s almost 18.”  We live in MA, and in the Fall she will be attending an expensive college in Chestnut Hill, and the money would allow her to focus on school and her studies instead of having to keep a full time job. Since I waited so long, what can I do?

ATTORNEY ANSWER:

A judge will order your husband to pay his back child support.  The quickest solution is to ask the Masschusetts Department of Revenue – Child Support Enforcement division to assist you.  If your husband is a regular employee (as opposed to self-employed), DOR can start by garnishing his wages.  [Read more…]