Law Offices of Meridith A. Gregory, LLC

North Andover Family Law Blog

Do certain factors prevent divorce?

Virtually no one gets married with the intention of splitting up later on, but the reality is that a significant number of marriages do not last. Many divorces in Massachusetts have common factors, such as financial problems or significant levels of stress. But what about common factors among marriages that do not end in divorce?

The American Community Survey from 2017 identified the five states with the lowest divorce rates. Those five states -- which did not include Massachusetts -- had fewer than 10 divorce individuals per 1,000 married people. The states with the highest divorce rates -- again which did not include Massachusetts -- had closer to 17 divorced people for every 1,000 married individuals. One of the biggest differences between the states with the lowest and highest divorce rates? Stress levels were significantly lower in the states with fewer divorces.

What you should know about child support after divorce

You and your ex might have prioritized your children during when you separated, but that does not mean you were in complete agreement about everything. Many Massachusetts parents struggle with figuring out child support after divorce, which is why so many people leave this decision up to a judge. Here is what you should know about how the amount of child support is decided and your options for changing a support order.

A family court judge will take a wide range of factors into account when determining how much child support is necessary. This includes how many children are involved, your custody agreement, both you and your ex's income, potential earnings if either of you are unemployed, contributions for health care and education and much more. Judges also have the discretion to ignore some of these factors or to consider matters that typically do not come into play during support hearings.

Are Massachusetts college students eligible for child support?

When parents get divorced, it is essential that their child custody and support agreements provide for the children’s needs, both in the near and long term. This generally involves establishing a child support plan that follows Massachusetts law and helps provide for the kids’ basic financial needs as if they were continuing to reside with both parents.

It is a common assumption that child support, also known as maintenance, is only meant for minor children and that family law courts will not approve an enforceable order that provides maintenance past a child’s 18th birthday. This is a myth. In fact, proper child support planning may include help for the children’s college education.

Who keeps the family business after a divorce?

Starting a business alone can be fun, but it is not for everyone. Some entrepreneurs in Massachusetts prefer to work with a partner, and for some people the obvious choice is their spouse. This can be a fun experience for married couples while also helping them generate a steady and regular income stream. However, things can get complicated during divorce.

Dividing a business during property division can be a little more involved than deciding who keeps the furniture. The first step should be to have the property accurately valued. It is usually best to have an impartial third party perform this action to avoid any bias from either owner.

Are you prepared for a gray divorce?

Ideas about marriage seem to be changing all the time, and people in Massachusetts seem to be becoming increasingly confident in what they want -- and do not want -- from their marriages. For some, this means filing for divorce after years or even decades of marriage. While there is no age limit on ending an unhappy marriage, those over the age of 50 may have additional concerns that their younger peers might not worry about.

Retirement is one of the biggest worries for those in a gray divorce. Even if a couple diligently stashed away money for this period in life, a sum that was intended to only support a single household might not stretch as far when it has to be divided and used to support two separate households. Additionally, if one person worked while the other spouse did not, he or she might feel angry about having to divide the retirement funds. On the other hand, those who did not work could feel worried that they will not have enough to live on in the future.

Child custody and co-parenting -- compromise is key

Even when settled amicably, divorce is still a contentious process that can leave emotions running high for quite some time. Although it is normal to deal with overwhelming emotions during this period of life, it can also complicate things, like child custody. Those in Massachusetts who hope to effectively co-parent after divorce should do their best to be aware of this and may want to keep some of the following in mind.

Co-parenting is increasingly popular among parents who want to maintain active roles in their children's lives. It involves divorced parents continuing to work together for their kids' best interests, but there can be stumbling blocks. For this process to work effectively, parents need to have a solid co-parenting relationship. This means that couples who recently divorced now need to find common ground.

Is mediation right for your divorce?

Not everyone wants to have their divorce settled in a courtroom. Perhaps you would prefer to settle your divorce as amicably as possible, or maybe you are concerned about dragging the process on. Whatever your reason for wanting to skip court, you can explore alternative dispute resolutions like mediation.

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