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January 2015 Archives

Tax considerations for unmarried parents

Divorced Massachusetts parents often have a lot on their plate when it comes to raising their children on their own while trying to balance out a work schedule. However, there are also certain federal tax considerations that they may need to take into account, especially because the parent's situation may make them eligible for certain deductions and a lower tax rate.

Supreme Court puts same-sex marriages on docket

Massachusetts residents may be interested to know that the Supreme Court has the issue of whether states can ban same-sex marriages on its docket. They are expected to rule on that issue in 2015 just as the presidential races gather speed. Politicians are being pressed to go on record about their stances on same-sex marriages and some are.

Pets are becoming major issue in divorce cases

Property division, financial support and child custody are all common issues that arise during Massachusetts divorce proceedings. However, pet custody and visitation is quickly becoming a frequent issue as well. According to The Humane Society of the United States, there are more than 179 million dogs and cats living in American homes as pets. Many pet owners have formed strong bonds with these pets and view them as another member of the family. That can cause intense disputes during divorce.

Changing a child's last name after a divorce

After going through a divorce in Massachusetts, a mother may wish to have her child's last name changed to her maiden name. As long as the child's father is still fulfilling his parental duties, many courts will not allow a child's last name to be changed after a divorce. However, there are some circumstances where a court will fulfill the mother's request for her child's last name to be changed.

How a divorce in Massachusetts could affect your taxes

Going through a divorce means that you have to make some decisions about alimony, the division of your marital assets and other related issues. In some cases the two of you will be able to agree on these matters, but if not, the court will make those determinations. One thing that you might not consider is how these decisions may affect your taxes. There are consequences for each financial transaction that you make, so it is essential to understand how your taxes could be affected.

An overview of supervised visitation programs

A Massachusetts parent who has been a victim of abuse at the hands of the child's other parent may be fearful of having to interact with that individual during future visitation dates. The potential for continued abuse is also an important concern to courts that are determining visitation schedules in child custody cases. Supervised visitation may be ordered if there are risks for a child or the custodial parent during these times. This is a program devised to ensure the safety of a child as time is spent with a parent.

Exercising parenting time

When a Massachusetts couple goes through a divorce, in most cases one parent will become the custodial parent while the other parent will have visitation rights. While many non-custodial parents ensure that they visit with their children during their scheduled parenting time, others decide that they no longer want to or cannot see their children.

Abusive parents' eligibility for custody and visitation

Massachusetts residents who are divorcing a spouse with a history of violence often have concerns about their children's safety and their own safety. Parents who want to ensure their children's safety may have questions about their ex-spouses' eligibility to receive custody or visitation rights if they have been abusive toward their families in the past.

What is the process for seeking divorce in Massachusetts?

The proceedings for a divorce depend on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. While Massachusetts enforces no-fault legislation, a fault case is treated like a contested case. In uncontested divorce proceedings, a separation agreement must be filed with the spouses' joint divorce petition, Form R-408, a certified marriage certificate copy and a joint affidavit of irretrievable breakdown. Couples with children might have to take a class for parent education and obtain a certificate of completion, which is filed with their financial statements prior to a hearing. If the court determines that the marriage is irreparable, it approves or modifies the separation settlement. A judgment nisi is automatically entered in 30 days and becomes final 90 days after the entry date. This means that divorced spouses cannot remarry for at least 120 days.

Limiting grandparents' visitation rights in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, grandparents may win visitation rights to their grandchildren. While it may be possible to limit the time that grandparents have to see their grandchildren, there needs to be good reason to do so. For instance, if a grandparent is abusive to the child or teaching the child to hate his or her parents, that may be grounds to limit visitation time. However, a court will not typically deny a grandparent visitation rights simply because a parent requests that such a ruling is made.

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