Whether your divorce is contentious or not, whether you have children or not, whether you have a lot of assets or not, whether just about anything, there is one common theme among all divorce: it is emotionally taxing. Under those circumstances, it can be easy to overlook an important matter or to compromise to something to your detriment. A divorce lawyer in Massachusetts will make sure nothing is missing and that the divorce is fair and considers your rights and interests.
At Sequel Law, our divorce lawyers help clients understand what is at stake. Some of the most common questions asked are answered here for you. We know that informed clients make better decisions for themselves and their families. If you want specific answers that relate to your unique situation, use this form or call us at (508) 986-9966 to schedule a Free Initial Consultation.
How much will my divorce in Massachusetts cost?
The cost of your divorce will depend on multiple factors, but mainly it depends on whether the divorce is contested or not. Quite naturally, an uncontested divorce will not cost as much simply because the process is much more straightforward. In an uncontested divorce, you may only have to attend one Zoom hearing. But in contested divorces, the costs depend on factors like:
- The extent of the disputes or disagreements between the spouses
- The potential for custody battles
- The number of assets, including allegations of hidden assets
- The length of the marriage
- The attorney you hire––and that does not only mean the attorney fees but the lawyer's legal competency and negotiating skills
Giving a precise prediction of how much your divorce will cost is impossible because of the various factors that go into it.
What if my spouse does not want a divorce?
You can still file for divorce even if your spouse does not want the divorce.
Can I sue for divorce in Massachusetts on the grounds of adultery?
Massachusetts is a no-fault state, meaning you do not have to have a ground for divorce. Many people want to file a fault-based divorce if their spouse cheated on them, but in Massachusetts adultery doesn't usually factor into a divorce. If the cheating spouse wasted marital property (e.g., cash for gifts or travel) on an affair, a judge could make up for the waste by awarding the non-cheating spouse a larger share of the marital assets. In most cases, it isn't worth the effort and expense of proving adultery.
How is Massachusetts child custody or support determined?
Child custody, parenting time, and child support are determined case-by-case by considering the "best interests of the child" standard. In general, though, courts want both parents to build strong relationships with their children. Courts also recognize that both parents are financially responsible for the child. Child custody, parenting time (or visitation), and child support will reflect those beliefs as the basis of the determination.
How is Massachusetts alimony determined?
Alimony, also referred to as spousal support, is determined on a case-by-case basis. Whether an award of alimony is appropriate depends on 14 factors that a judge must consider, including the length of the marriage and the lifestyle that the parties enjoyed while married. The key factors in determining the amount of alimony are the needs of the receiving spouse and the ability of the paying spouse to pay alimony. If one spouse was dependent on the other spouse throughout the marriage, that factor will weigh heavily on any court's decision on alimony.
How are assets and debt divided in Massachusetts?
Assets and debt are divided "equitably", which means in a way that is fair and reasonable based on the surrounding circumstances. Under the Equitable Distribution method used in Massachusetts, 50/50 division isn't necessarily the way a judge would divide the marital estate –– what matters is what's fair in your particular situation.
My spouse is abusive. How do I protect myself during the divorce?
Spouses who have abusive spouses are in the most danger when they seek divorce or otherwise try to escape the abuse or control. You should protect yourself by getting as much help and support you can. You can file a restraining order, also called a 209A Abuse Prevention Order. You should also consider state and local programs aimed at helping survivors of domestic abuse. You also want to build a network of support using friends and family as well as a supportive family law attorney.
How do I start my divorce in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, you have to file a Complaint for Divorce to dissolve the marriage in the county where you live or where you and your spouse last lived together. Once the Complaint for Divorce is filed, the other spouse has 20 days to answer the Complaint (though an extension is almost always granted if requested, even after the 20 days have passed). The most efficient way to start a divorce is to contact a divorce attorney to handle it for you. This way the Complaint for Divorce is properly filed and/or timely answered.
What if both spouses are in agreement about the divorce?
This is an Uncontested divorce (or a 1A divorce). This is by far the most efficient and cost-effective way to get divorced. We handle many uncontested divorces and try to make the process as easy as possible. With the assistance of an attorney, you can ensure that the Court will accept and approve your Separation Agreement and that the process will go smoothly.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Massachusetts Today
If you are thinking of a divorce or have been served divorce papers (such as a Domestic Relations Summons and Complaint for Divorce), contact Sequel Law either by using the online contact form or calling us at (508) 986-9966. We will schedule a Free Initial Consultation so that you can get your most immediate questions answered more specifically.