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Wellesley Family Law Blog

An enduring battle for same-sex couples: equal treatment under law

It might be reasonably argued that, while same-sex couples are consistently winning many key legal battles across the country, they haven't yet won the war.

We proudly represent a diverse family law clientele at the Law Offices of Lisa A. Ruggieri in Wellesley. In doing so, we note "the legal challenges and difficulties that gay, lesbian and non-traditional families face today."

Assembling a strong team can be a key factor in divorce success

It's certainly true that many Massachusetts residents get by just fine in the divorce process by relying solely on a seasoned family law attorney.

That is, a deeper team of professionals surrounding experienced legal counsel is not always necessary to secure a fair divorce result. It is often the case that a proven family law attorney can readily handle everything from child custody, parenting plans and visitation to support matters, property division concerns and anything else that crops up.

Divorce focus: family business valuation and an equitable result

If you worked hard to establish a Massachusetts business and make its ongoing operations profitable (either by yourself or working together with your spouse), you certainly have an avid interest in how that enterprise will be handled if you and your partner decide to divorce.

A recent Forbes article speaks to that, with primarily a female audience in mind. Much of its subject matter applies with equal force to male spouses as well, though, and we pass along some of the central points to what we reasonably believe is a broad audience of relevant readers, without regard to gender.

Seven Changes To Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

There are new child support guidelines that have been in effect in Massachusetts since September 15 of 2017 These changes are not retroactive, and so if you already have an order in place, you don’t need to worry. But if a child support order will be a part of your divorce after September 15, these changes in the law will apply to you.

  1. Reduced support for adult children.For adult children between the ages of 18 and 23, the new law allows for a reduction of up to 25 percent of the child support order. Furthermore, the new law caps support for adult children at 75 percent of a standard child support order. Judges can, however, still use their discretion when deciding about appropriate amounts of child support for adult children.
  2. Cap on college tuition. Under the new law, each parent will be required to pay no more than 50 percent of the cost to attend University of Massachusetts Amherst, including tuition, room and board and any associated fees.
  3. Eliminating the 33 percent to 50 percent category. In an effort to reduce litigation over parenting time and child support obligations, the new law has eliminated the category of 33 to 50 percent parenting time, which previously would have allowed parents to deviate from standard child support payments.
  4. Capped health and child care costs. The new law allows health and child care deductions to make up only 15 percent of the totally child support order.
  5. Clarifying non-taxed income. For the purposes of identifying income that could be subject to a child support order, the new Massachusetts law allows the courts to “impute” income based on evidence that there is self-employment income or business-related income in play that has not been reported as taxable. The new law also allows courts to apply “attributed” income in circumstances where a parent who is found to be capable of working is either underemployed or unemployed.
  6. Considering tax consequences. The new law allows courts to take into consideration the tax consequences of support orders when balancing the various types of support ordered for any individual case: child support, alimony or unallocated support.
  7. Raising the minimum child support from $18.46 to $25.

Commentators: think twice about a DIY divorce

There's no doubt that we live in an acronym-laden world these days, with the speed and pace of life often yielding shorthand depictions for things that used to be spelled out.

Take the letters DIY, for example, which are scattered across a recent Reuters article on couples seeking to dissolve marriages without help from an experienced divorce attorney.

Five things men should think about during divorce

Of all the message boards and blog posts geared towards getting women prepared for divorce, very few identify or acknowledge the emotional pain men may endure. Perhaps the stereotype that men are supposed to be emotionless through trials may play a part in this.  

Nevertheless, men can (and do) have emotional difficulties during divorce; especially when there are children involved. As such, this post will provide some helpful pieces of advice for men going through a divorce.

Author's once-controversial book on divorce now matter-of-fact

Psychologist and author Constance Ahrons related in a recent media account how a book she authored a generation back encountered considerable blow back and ire following its release.

In fact, she says, third-party hostility was often the reaction aimed at her on a book tour and in interviews after she penned "The Good Divorce" nearly a quarter of a century ago.

Alimony front and center in new congressional bill

We have commented in some past blog posts that the unique nature of every family makes cookie-cutter strategies and solutions virtually worthless in most family law matters.

And that is simply a flat-out truth, given that the particulars surrounding important things like parenting plans/visitation, child support and fair asset distribution necessarily vary from family to family.

What is contempt, and how does it work in a family law matter?

If you've gone through a divorce with input from a Massachusetts family law judge, you undoubtedly appreciate the powers wielded by a court and understand why issued rulings are expected to be complied with.

Courts are austere bodies, with judges clearly being cloaked in authority.

Even absent a prenup, you can still protect your separate property

Reams of material have been written on prenuptial agreements in recent years. Notably, the slant ranges widely.

On the one hand, there are emotionally charged -- and, candidly, easily challenged -- spiels on how a prenuptial contract allegedly dampens romantic ardor and hastens divorce.

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