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Wellesley Family Law Blog

Can a child custody order be changed?

In any divorce involving children, there are bound to be some difficult and emotional times. This is particularly true in cases where divorcing parents aren't able to agree about the terms of a custody agreement. As we discussed in a recent blog post, in contested custody cases, a family law judge will take several factors into consideration when attempting to determine what type of arrangement serves a child's best interest.

While a parent may be unhappy with a custody ruling, it's important to comply with the terms and conditions of a judge's final judgment. At times, however, the situation of one or both parents may change in ways that affect a parent's ability to care and provide for a child and the other parent may take action to modify the terms of an existing custody agreement.

Tips for divorcing parents: talking about divorce with kids

All parents want to protect and shield their children from experiencing pain and heartache. With this in mind, parents who choose to divorce often have many concerns about how a divorce will impact a child. Parents have good reason to worry as, if handled poorly, divorce can be an extremely confusing, scary and difficult time in a child's life. It's important, therefore, that parents set the right tone and deliver the right message to a child, starting with the very first divorce-related conversation.

For any parent, breaking news of a divorce to a child is bound to be a nerve-wracking experience. While the actual words a parent uses will vary and depend largely on a child's age, divorcing parents should keep the following things in mind when figuring out how to talk to a child about divorce.

Fathers: Planning for the unplanned in your divorce

Surprises are a part of parenting and being married. Unfortunately, they can also be a big part of divorce.

For example, let's consider the split between actress Megan Fox and actor Brian Austin Green. The pair filed for divorce last year, but recently it was confirmed that Fox is pregnant. This, like many other aspects of a high-asset divorce, was reportedly a surprise.

Summer is coming, are you and an ex on the same page?

June is just a few short weeks away and with it comes the end of another school year and the official start of summer. For school-aged kids, the summer months are meant to be a time for fun, relaxation and freedom. For working parents, the summer months can present many logistical challenges as parents must arrange childcare or somehow attempt to keep their kids busy and out of trouble.

For divorced parents, the day-to-day scheduling challenges that frequently accompany the summer months are often magnified as a parenting plan and custody schedule that worked during the school year must be adjusted to accommodate summer vacations, camps and extended stays with each parent. Even divorced parents who are on good terms and able to effectively communicate are likely to experience some misunderstandings or arguments when it comes to a child’s summer schedule. To minimize conflict, and the potential harm to a child, divorced parents would be wise to heed the following advice.

Why high-asset divorces are often highly complex

Making the decision to divorce is never easy and many couples struggle for years to salvage a relationship. At times, however, divorce truly is the best option for both unhappy spouses and their shared children. For couples who have amassed a considerable amount of wealth during the course of their marriage, the divorce process can be particularly complex and it’s important to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney who has successfully handled high-asset divorces.

The legal professionals at the Law Offices of Lisa A. Ruggieri have handled many divorce cases involving multiple real estate properties, numerous financial and investment accounts, business interests, family heirlooms and personal belongings of high value. We know that before any of these assets can be divided, it's critical to figure out their actual value and that a number of factors; including fair market value, tax penalties, appreciation, personal ties and demand; must be taken into account.

The importance of setting boundaries during the divorce process

Most relationships work best when there is mutual respect and a certain amount of give and take between two parties. In some marriages, however, there is an imbalance of power where one spouse takes more control. In cases where a power imbalance escalates to where one spouse attempts to exert more control over the other by withholding finances or engaging in behaviors that are physically or emotionally abusive, divorce may be the best option.

Individuals who are going through a divorce and who have concerns that the relationship with a soon-to-be ex may grow increasingly contentious and even potentially hostile, would be wise to take steps to set firm boundaries. Not only can setting boundaries help head off potential conflicts, but doing so also sets a benchmark by which an individual can measure and document when an ex crosses a boundary.

How to protect your credit score while going through a divorce

An individual's financial security is dependent upon many things including one's ability to access and obtain credit. In cases where an individual is planning to file for or is going through a divorce, it's important to take steps to protect or boost an existing credit score. To accomplish this goal, an individual must be aware of the ways that divorce can negatively impact a credit score.

When an individual informs a spouse that he or she wants a divorce, emotions are likely to run high and both spouses may be prone to act out in ways that are out of character. If soon-to-be exes still share joint accounts, it's important to ensure that bills are being paid in full and on time. From credit cards to a home mortgage, if payments are late or missed, an individual's credit score is likely to take a big hit. In cases where an estranged husband or wife doesn't seem to care about making these payments, it's in an individual's best interest to do so in full and to keep track of and attempt to recover these funds during divorce proceedings.

Tax changes triggered by divorce

The 2016 tax filing deadline is quickly approaching and individuals and couples throughout the U.S. have just 38 days to gather important tax documents and file their tax returns. For individuals who divorced during 2015, it's important to understand the related tax changes when it comes to filing status and claiming deductions and income.

Married couples are often afforded several tax breaks including being able to file jointly. If an individual is currently going through a divorce or a divorce decree was entered on or after Jan. 1, 2016, he or she still has the option of filing jointly with an ex or soon-to-be ex-spouse. However, if a divorce was finalized at any point during 2015, an individual must file as single.

Married with no prenup? Why you may want to consider a postnuptial agreement

In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed how married individuals and couples can benefit by having a prenuptial agreement. Such as agreement is drafted and executed by both parties prior to marrying and provides details related to the assets and debts that each spouse brings to a marriage and, in the event that a couple subsequently divorces, will retain after a marriage ends.

While all couples who plan to marry are encouraged to speak with an attorney to discover why a prenup is a good idea, many unfortunately don’t and may therefore end up going through a lengthy, expensive and highly contentious divorce. Often, couples who fail to draft and sign a prenup prior to marrying can benefit by executing a postnuptial agreement during their marriage.

The complexities of high-asset divorce

Individuals who are going through a divorce can quickly become overwhelmed by the process. This is often especially true when a couple has a complex portfolio of assets and investments and owns multiple properties. In high-asset divorces, it can not only be difficult to discover, identify and value assets and property; but also to determine and agree upon how such assets and property should be divided.

In divorce terms, the word property encompasses many different assets and possessions. For example, real property relates to a marital home as well as vacation or rental properties, land lots one may own and any business properties. Personal property includes items that one may have in a home, vacation property or business and may include items ranging from furniture and artwork to boats and computers.

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