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Multiple divorce-related considerations spotlighted in court case

Some divorces in Massachusetts and elsewhere seem to be predominantly focused upon a single matter above all others (say, for example, parenting time/visitation or property division, respectively). Others, conversely, feature multiple and interacting considerations, which can easily be the case where significant assets and children are involved.

We spotlight the latter type of case in today’s blog entry, finding it easily instructive for its spotlighting of several family law issues that can rise to importance in a divorce proceeding.

The case involves a wealthy couple in a long-tenured marriage that ended in divorce slightly more than a decade ago. As noted in one media article discussing the divorce, the couple “lived a luxurious life” for decades prior to their dissolved marriage.

The court took note of that during their 2006 divorce negotiations, recognizing that the soon-to-be former wife and mother was accustomed to a certain lifestyle during marriage that remained relevant going forward (please see our March 23 blog post on maintaining an existing lifestyle following divorce).

Due consideration also focused on additional matters, chiefly alimony, with acknowledgment given of the wife’s forgoing of a lucrative career to raise the couple’s children. That was reflected in a significant alimony (spousal maintenance) award.

Subsequently, other touchstone family law points emerged regarding the divorce. Following dissolution, the ex-husband periodically petitioned the court to modify existing orders relating to that support.

Ultimately, attorneys’ fees figured into the picture, with the supreme court in the couple’s state recently overturning an appellate decision that the ex-wife lost after unsuccessfully arguing that responding to her ex-partner’s repeated legal challenges were deeply hurting her financially.

The high court agreed with the woman’s stated position, ruling that due consideration must be taken of dueling parties’ respective financial resources in any evaluation of payment for rendered legal services.

The reversed lower-court decision resulted in the former husband being tasked to pay a significant amount of his ex-spouse’s legal fees.

The above-cited media report on the matter states that the outcome “is likely to affect how legal fees are paid (at least in Illinois) in future divorces.”

Persons with questions regarding the instant subject matter or any other aspect of family law can contact an experienced Boston-area divorce area for guidance and proven legal representation.

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