Law Offices of Meridith A. Gregory, LLC

North Andover Family Law Blog

What happens to my separate bank accounts during divorce?

Protecting personal property is a priority for most people in Massachusetts, and getting married usually does not change those feelings. Younger adults are increasingly turning to prenuptial agreements to define which property is separate and which is marital, which is usually very effective and helpful during divorce. However, some couples are taking a less conventional approach to protecting separate property, which is unfortunately much less effective than they think.

Separate bank accounts in marriage is becoming more popular among millennials. According to Bank of America, married millennials are maintaining separate bank accounts at more than twice the rate of the baby boomer and Gen X generations. Some couples may have simply never gotten around to combining accounts because of how easy it is to instantly transfer money now. Others believe that keeping separate accounts will protect their respective finances in the event of a divorce. It does not.

Protect your post-divorce finances

Money is a significant source of stress for many people in Massachusetts. That stress may even feel amplified during periods of uncertainty or significant life transitions, such as divorce. Protecting post-divorce finances is a priority for most people, but how to go about doing so may be less clear. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

After dealing with everything that comes with divorce -- including property division, child custody and more -- it is easy to forget about the small details later on. It is not uncommon for people to forget all about updating their insurance policies and benefits. Whether needing to decrease or increase certain coverage, forgetting to make important changes can cost more in the long run.

How will a judge decide the custody arrangement for my child?

Every child custody decision should be made with your child’s best interests in mind. However, parents often disagree on what a child’s best interests are.

If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement regarding child custody, then a judge must set the custody arrangement for you. A judge will make a decision based on what he or she thinks the best interests of your child are.

My ex got fired in the middle of our divorce, what should I do?

Most people in Massachusetts are understandably worried about what their finances will look like after a divorce. For those who earned less than their soon-to-be ex-spouse or who stayed home to care for children, things like alimony and spousal support can be extremely important for financial security. However, life is not perfect, and sometimes the unexpected can change how things proceed during a divorce. Here are a few things to keep in mind if a spouse loses a job during a divorce.

How an ex lost the job is important in terms of figuring out things like alimony and child support. If the ex was laid off through no fault of his or her own and makes a concerted effort to find new employment, the court will probably take that into account when determining how much will need to be paid every month. While it can be understandably upsetting to realize that support payments will be lower than expected, once an ex secures a new position it may be possible to modify a support order.

Divorce is different for millennials

Popular media tends to paint a very one-dimensional picture of what it looks like to end a marriage. While movies and TV shows might ultimately reflect how many people in Massachusetts view divorce, the reality could be much different. Not only is divorce unique for each and every couple, but there are also different trends across different generations.

Many millennials witnessed their own parents' divorces during childhood and adolescence, and this likely influenced how this generation views marriage. Rather than marrying young like their parents did, many are choosing to delay tying the knot in order to make sure that they marry the right person. While there is no foolproof way to prevent a divorce, experts say the millennial approach is actually lowering the divorce rate.

How your child may react to your divorce—and what to do about it

With all the headache of figuring out how your life will change in your divorce, it may be easy to forget that it affects other lives too. Your child is going through a lot of change as well.

If you don’t consider how your decisions impact your entire family, it could make the experience harder on them. You should know what behaviors commonly occur in children of divorce so that you can help your child avoid them.

Filing for your 2nd divorce? Keep these things in mind

Deciding to end a marriage can be a complicated matter. Even when a person is no longer happily married, it can be an emotional matter to file for divorce. Many people are also concerned about various financial matters, and parents might feel worried about how to handle child custody. These problems can feel magnified for those who are pursuing their second divorce.

Although it is not always the case, those in Massachusetts who are filing for their second or even third divorce tend to do so later in life. This means that they have had more time to accumulate assets, which puts more on the line than during a divorce that might have happened years or even decades ago. Another complicating factor involves the financial details of the settlement from a first divorce, including ongoing spousal support payments.

Divorce and financial infidelity

Money stress in marriage is nothing new. Most couples in Massachusetts will end up fighting over money at least once or will see it pop back up as a recurring point of stress throughout the relationship. However, in some cases it is much more than being a little stressed about money. When one partner has a money disorder it can make dealing with things like marriage and divorce incredibly difficult.

Money disorders are perhaps more common than some people realize. Those who suffer from this disorder have chronic patterns of financial behaviors that are self-destructive or self-defeating. Symptoms of money disorders can manifest in several different ways and at first may look like simply over or underspending. In reality, things like compulsive spending, hoarding or pathological gambling can cause real and serious consequences on a person's health and personal relationships.

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.

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