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The long battle for child support

In Massachusetts, as well as many other states, divorce is not an uncommon practice amongst couples with children. However, divorces involving children can often become more complicated and stressful for not only the parents but for the children as well. Some families struggle to collect child support payments from former spouses, and the court battles that follow can be drawn out over several months or even years. It may come as a shock to many that some courts put a deadline on certain types of cases, including child support cases. 

A group of eight mothers has filed a lawsuit against judges in their state's family court system for claiming that delays in their system are the reason why they are unable to collect child support payments. The courts in question have a 60 to 90-day time frame in which to handle these cases. However, these women allege that the courts have violated this time frame repeatedly, which results in parents being unable to collect support payments and, therefore, unable to provide for their children. 

Child custody between same-sex couples

Massachusetts attorneys have seen their fair share of marriages end in divorce. Sometimes, former spouses are able to get along during and after the divorce is final, but there are some circumstances that can put an extra strain on what remains of the relationship. Determining child custody has the potential to turn any divorce into a vicious battle, and it can be made worse when only one of the parents is the biological parent.

A same-sex couple separated in 2013 and was granted a divorce in Mississippi in 2015. However, the women are still struggling to come to an agreement concerning the custody of their child, who was born during their union. The child was conceived by implanting an egg fertilized with an anonymous donor's sperm into one of the women. 

3 provisions to include in your prenup

When you are in love, you may think you will never need a prenuptial agreement, or prenup. That is until something difficult happens down the road and you are heading towards divorce. While divorce is not a guarantee, it is certainly a possibility that you should prepare for. 

Without a prenup in place, your divorce can easily turn into a bloodbath from fights over property, investments and savings. But what exactly should you include in this marital contract? Read below for some provisions you may want to include in your prenup.

Property division options after divorce

Ending a marriage can be a long and difficult process. Many families in Massachusetts struggle with property division. Deciding how to divide up large assets, like a house, can cause friction between separating couples, and it can sometimes put extra stress on any children that the couple may have. 

Many couples will choose to sell the family home and split the profits, but depending on how much the home is worth and if the family has children, this may not be the best option. There are several additional fees associated with selling a property, and if the home is sold at a loss, then the couple may not feel that selling the property is worth it. Also, if the family has children, the parents may feel that is would be better, and less stressful, for the children to instead transfer the deed into a single spouse's name. This can be done via an inter-spousal transfer deed or a quitclaim deed. 

Understanding your finances in a high asset divorce

There are many things for couples across the nation, including Massachusetts, to consider when they decide to get a divorce. Among these things are the family finances. Often, there is one spouse who deals with the majority of the finances, but especially in a high asset divorce, both spouses can benefit from understanding what the family income is used for. By understanding how the family income is used, the people going through a divorce can begin to plan how their lifestyles will change after the divorce is final. 

Deciding where each former spouse will live after the divorce is one of the first things that divorcing couples may want to discuss. If one spouse wishes to stay in the family home, then he or she may first want to consider the cost of maintaining that home and any other major expenses for which he or she will be responsible. This may include child support or alimony payments. The same may be said for those individuals who do not wish to remain in the home. However, instead of considering the costs of maintaining a home, he or she may wish to compare the costs of renting or purchasing another place to live.

Determining child custody sometimes requires sacrifice

Divorce can sometimes be a complicated and messy affair, as some Massachusetts residents may know. The process can be made even more complicated when children are involved. Some parents are unwilling to compromise on the subject of child custody. Other times a parent's work schedule or travel requirements can present a problem. Parents must be willing to make sacrifices to ensure the well-being of their child or children.

Tennis player Victoria Azarenka has missed a number of competitions because of the ongoing custody battle for her young son. Victoria and the child's father, Billy McKeague, originally separated a few months after her son was borne. Neither parent is allowed to leave their state with the child before custody is determined. When the custody battle began, she had hoped that it would only take a few days to come to an agreement. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Retirement accounts in a Massachusetts divorce

Massachusetts couples embarking on the divorce process know various important issues lie ahead. Property division tends to rank high on the list of priorities, especially for those who own valuable and complex assets.

When compiling the inventory of assets for division, the couple should also list any retirement accounts and pensions. These assets are often subject to special rules and a specific division method.

Man sent to prison for refusing to pay child support

Many Massachusetts parents who have gone through a divorce rely on the financial support paid to them by their former spouses in order to provide for their children. However, there are some individuals who are either unable to make their child support payments, or who simply refuse to do so. What some might not know is that a person who fails to pay court-ordered child support could be sent to prison.

One out-of-state man has recently been sentenced to prison for failing to make his child support payments. The court decided that he will serve between 12 and 32 months in prison and pay back child support. When he was sentenced, the man owed more than $20,000 in payments. 

There are more changes to be made after child custody is decided

Many of the people in Massachusetts who are going through a divorce know that it can be an incredibly long and stressful process. Sometimes, family and friends feel the need to choose sides, which may result in more fighting and can strain the situation even more. However, there are still a number of changes to be made after all of the papers are signed. Divorced couples who have had to come to a child custody agreement still have many more things to consider after the divorce is final.

One of the first things that the newly single individuals may want to consider is their tax filing status. While they are married, couples have the option to file jointly or separately. After the divorce, each individual may file as single or head of household. There are some requirements for those wishing to file as head of household. The person must at least be considered unmarried, be responsible for more than half of the household costs, and be responsible for a dependent child or another family member.

Ways to make a high asset divorce smoother

Massachusetts residents who have gone through a divorce or are currently going through a divorce know that emotions can often run high. Each spouse is attempting to gather all of the information necessary to ensure that the marital assets are divided fairly and that any private property is protected. Proceedings may be especially stressful for couples involved in a high asset divorce due to the sheer amount or great value of the assets in question. There are, however, some steps that couples can take that could make the process run a little more smoothly.

Some couples may find it helpful to contact a mediator to help with communications and the negotiation of assets. This may help some divorcing couples to sort out many differences before they get out of hand. Clear communication can often help to make the divorce process smoother as a whole.

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