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Wellesley Family Law Blog

You have the right to child support in Massachusetts

Child support is not something that you and a spouse should have to fight over after a divorce or break up; it's meant to go to your children, the children you raised and intended on supporting until their adult lives. Although this is the case, sometimes you and the other parent may disagree on how much child support is needed or where it should be spent. If you've never been married, then someone may not feel obligated to pay, even though this isn't true by law.

In Massachusetts, child support amounts are determined by statute. That means that the income of each parent, the number of children being supported, and medical insurance costs will all be considered. If you have sole or joint custody, this can also affect how much child support is paid.

Are there special forms to file for a divorce in Massachusetts?

So, you've decided to file for divorce. You're likely wondering where to begin. It seems like a major task, and if you don't fill out all the paperwork, it can be troublesome. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to complete the paperwork as long as you do it in order.

When you want to file for divorce in Massachusetts, you need to file several documents depending on your situation. For a no-fault divorce, you'll need to file paperwork signed by both parties. This joint petition is called a form CJD 101A. You also have to submit a joint affidavit of irretrievable breakdown and a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

Massachusetts law: Parents and having children out of wedlock

Having children out of wedlock is not uncommon. Of course, if this happens, paternity needs to be established. Maternity is typically assumed, although in some cases, like those with surrogates, even maternity can be challenged.

If you're a father who had a child out of wedlock, you need to take action to be seen as the father of your child in the eyes of the law. You will need to fill out a document called the Stipulation for Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage in Massachusetts. This is done if both you and the mother agree that you're the father. If not, then you or the mother will need to file a lawsuit with the court to get DNA evidence that you are, in fact, the father.

Relocating: Your child and your rights as a parent

When you are divorced, you sometimes come across difficult situations that other families may not face. For instance, if you're given the opportunity to take a good job in another state but have a child in your custody, will you be able to move away from your son or daughter's father or mother? Is it fair to your ex or child to do so?

Child relocations are some of the most difficult and contentious issues family law courts see. A non-custodial parent could see it as an effort to block them from seeing his or her children, while the custodial parent may simply want to move forward with his or her life separate from his or her ex-spouse.

Domestic partnerships versus marriages in Massachusetts

When you're considering your future with your partner in Massachusetts, you have a number of options. Both heterosexual and homosexual couples are able to obtain licenses to marry in Massachusetts, but some couples may want to opt for a domestic partnership or civil union instead. What's the difference?

A domestic partnership is similar to marriage; it applies to unmarried couples who live together, and it doesn't only apply to same-sex couples. It's true that many of the registered domestic partnerships have been between same-sex couples, especially in states where same-sex marriage is not yet legal. Interestingly, some states only allow this arrangement for homosexual couples or heterosexual couples only if one of the pair is over the age of 62, while in other states anyone may apply.

Is an annulment easier than a divorce in Massachusetts?

An annulment is a different way to separate from a partner in Massachusetts. It is similar to a divorce. It is a court order that dissolves a marriage, but it has the legal effect of making it so a marriage never even existed. That means that both people will go on acting like the marriage never happened instead of going through long, drawn out proceedings.

To get an annulment, you have to show that one of the following reasons took place. For instance, if you had a major misunderstanding with a spouse, the marriage can be annulled. This includes things like thinking your spouse wanted children when he actually didn't. The inability or refusal to consummate a marriage is also a reason to get an annulment. That means that if the spouses refuse to have sexual intercourse, the marriage is able to be dissolved.

Paul George faces trial over father's rights and paternity

Paternity is a difficult issue for some people. Taking the test may seem invasive, especially to those who weren't expecting to be accused of being the father of a child after a one-night stand or short relationship. Taking the DNA test is simple, and if you believe your child's father is who you think it is, then he should have no problem taking the test and accepting responsibility.

In Massachusetts, you may have heard about Paul George, an Indiana Pacers All-Star, who has been struggling through a paternity suit since May. He had previously been accused of not wanting to take part in his now 5-month-old daughter's life, but as a settlement is close to being reached in the case, he has been able to meet the child for the first time. He had previously been named as the father of the child through a private paternity test.

Alimony In Massachusetts: Payments and Your Needs

What is spousal support like in Massachusetts? Massachusetts has alimony, which is simply the money one spouse pays to the other to help support them after a divorce. The amount of money can be decided by the couple or by the court, depending on the situation.

The amount of alimony a person receives is determined by looking at the age, physical condition, financial condition, and emotional state of the spouses. From there, the length of time the alimony will be awarded is determined. In some states, it's only as long as needed for the other person to get back on their feet financially; in Massachusetts, it can be as long as life.

Who gets an engagement ring in a broken engagement?

Here's an interesting fact that you might not have known. When an engagement is broken, deciding who keeps an engagement ring can become a legal battle. The way the ring is distributed depends on how the court looks at the case. To view the ring as a gift, the giver must have intended it to be a gift, must have given the ring to the other party as a gift and the receiver must have accepted the gift. In most cases, even though the engagement doesn't proceed, the ring stays with the receiver since it was a gift.

The problem may come with some courts when they determine that the ring is a conditional gift. A conditional gift is based on the idea that the gift is only meant to be given if certain terms are met. If the agreed on action -- in this case, a wedding -- doesn't happen, the court could rule that the ring was conditional and give it back to the giver.

Defining your right to child support in Massachusetts

As a parent of a child in Massachusetts, you typically have some rights to child support from the other parent. You do need to be entitled to those payments, though. If you can answer these questions with "yes," then you likely are eligible to receive child support.

First, are you the custodial parent of your child? If you have primary custody of your little one, then you're likely able to receive child support. If you're responsible for day-to-day care or have been designated as the custodial parent by the courts, then this likely means you should be receiving support.

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