Expert assistance-when it might be wise to seek the help of a CDFA or other financial professional in family mediation.

A financial expert can give spouses a nuanced and long-term view of how family finances might look post-divorce and what the net-effect of different choices might be. These different choices can have significant impact on parties’ future finances, and should not be overlooked in the mediation process. It may be well-worth the investment for couples in mediation to enlist the help of a neutral expert to help plan the financial aspects of divorce.

Prenuptial pain and how mediation or collaborative law can help.

The prenuptial agreement is a double-edged sword. Although a skillfully drafted agreement can protect parties, it can start off marriage on the wrong foot by generating resentment and hurt feelings. Mediation or collaborative law can transform a potentially destructive process into a positive one, by making the prenuptial agreement negotiation inclusive and mutual.

Moving towards a better way

Mediation and collaborative law help parties resolve their family law issues privately, enable them to forge ongoing working relationships with each other for the best interests of their children and their own mental health, and accomplish all of this with vastly more efficiency and economy than litigation.

Everything is income

In case the Child Support Guidelines have not yet made this fact clear enough, everything, everything, everything a party earns may be considered income for purposes of child support calculation.  In Hoegen v. Hoegen, 89 Mass. App. Ct. 6 (2016), the Appeals Court reversed a Probate Court decision that a father was not obligated to include income he got from vested, restricted stock units (RSU) in calculation of child support.

Trust Issues

Trust construction is highly discretionary, uncertain, and can result in different outcomes on all decision making levels.  Given the variability of judicial outcome when dealing with trusts, parties would be on safest ground by understanding that this area of the law is fraught with unpredictability and that settlement is their best bet...

Drop off the key, Lee

Why it's hard to force a soon-to-be ex-spouse to leave the marital home -- and why that spouse should leave anyway.

The sooner your spouse vacates and the parties are separated, the sooner you can start to establish a track record of child support or alimony payments.  Proof of support payments must be shown before the spouse who is staying in the home can refinance the mortgage in his or her own name and the paying spouse can buy their own home.

WHY YOU STILL NEED A LAWYER WHEN YOU MEDIATE YOUR DIVORCE

Having independent counsel will help you be sure that your agreement is fair, complete, and enforceable.
 

As your advocate and family law expert, your lawyer can help you determine if agreement terms will benefit you and your family members, whether you should compromise or hold fast on certain elements, and if your agreement is fair and equitable. Through discussions with you, your attorney can also identify missing details, pitfalls, or unforeseen consequences that may not have occurred to you in mediation, and can make your agreement easier to understand and interpret down the road.

Child Support and Alimony

If you are considering or preparing for a divorce in Massachusetts and have children, whether the divorce is amicable or hostile, contested or uncontested, you need to understand the relationship between those payments known as child support and those known as alimony.  Must one spouse pay (and can the other spouse get) both child support and alimony?  In negotiating the terms of your divorce, what are the advantages and disadvantages to each?  Are there different tax consequences associated with child support or alimony?