WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR A COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE?
- Collaborative Law
- Resolution Through Negotiation
WHAT’S THE EASIEST WAY TO GET DIVORCED (IN MA.)?
I still believe that the most cost-effective (in terms of money, emotion and energy) and quickest and easiest (ie, healthiest) way is via ‘conversation, not confrontation’.
Choosing the right family law attorney
and deciding which divorce you want is the first and most important step in finding your ‘easiest’ way to divorce.
You can choose to divorce with respect and dignity by using the collaborative process (you must consult with a collaboratively-trained attorney – (see www.massclc.org or www.collaborativepractice.com for more info)
You can choose to find a skilled and experienced divorce mediator (see www.mcfm.org for Massachusetts and other sites for your state for suggestions) who will remain neutral while helping you and your partner reach a resolution.
The divorce process offers many opportunities for negotiation, and my suggestion is ALWAYS (unless there is a violence or other strong reason for litigating) to try to reach a settlement by starting with conversation – whether it is you and your partner sitting at the kitchen table or your attorneys engaging in respectful discussions, or any combination of these opportunities.
If all of these conversations do lead to ongoing disagreements, then, perhaps court intervention is necessary. Perhaps one partner is unable to reach ‘reasonableness’, for any reason, and then a judge’s influence might be necessary. Each divorce is unique, since each relationship and each history is unique, so if you find an attorney who listens to and guides you, then, hopefully, you will learn which process will be the most appropriate for you and your family.
WHO GETS ALIMONY?
Each state has its own alimony rules, and you should learn about alimony in the state where your marriage lived or lives. In Massachusetts, where alimony is based upon the ‘need’ of the payee (receiver) and the ‘ability to pay’ of the payor, starting March 1, 2012, a new alimony law goes into effect. Here is the essence:
- the longer the marriage, the longer the length of alimony payments
- the suggestion for the amount of alimony generally, is NO MORE THAN 30 – 35% of the difference in incomes (NOTE: the parties can decide that the amount is LESS than 30 – 35% of the difference in incomes!)
- alimony now terminates, usually, upon retirement of payor
WHO GETS CHILD SUPPORT?...HOW MUCH?
Child Support in Massachusetts is paid from one parent to the other, and can be paid even if the parents co-parent and share time with the children. Child Support in Massachusetts is paid according to a formula that considers the income of each parent, the cost of health insurance and the cost of child care, among other factors.
CAN I GET SOLE CUSTODY OF THE KIDS?
A custody ‘battle’ is expensive in every way, and, in my opinion, usually no one wins, and the biggest ‘losers’ can often be the children .
In Massachusetts ‘legal custody’ is most often joint, which means that both parents have rights in the decision making for the child or children (braces, camp, college, violin, etc), even if the children live primarily with one parent.
A custody battle usually involve appointment by a judge of a GAL (Guardian ad Litem) to investigate and report back to the Court. The investigative process can be intrusive (he or she will possibly be empowered to interview parents, children, teachers, doctors, etc) and costly and lengthy.
WHAT ABOUT THE DOG?
If custody of the dog is an important issue for you and your family, I suggest you make that clear to your attorney as soon as possible. Often you can work out a ‘co-parenting’ plan for the pet(s), and sometimes the pet follows the ‘co-parenting’ plan for the children.
If you are considering divorce and would like someone to talk to, please Contact Me
for a free initial consultation
. I can be reached by phone at 617-658-2913 or by email.