When parents divorce, it is important that they reach an agreement regarding custody and visitation. However, it is not only the parents who are impacted by the divorce and the relationship with the child; grandparents, friends, aunts and uncles, other family members, and siblings are often affected, too.
When parents are getting a divorce, determining with whom children will live is often one of the hardest decisions that parents must make. What’s more, because divorce can be psychologically damaging to a child, parents are further tasked with mitigating the negative effects of a divorce in whatever way they can.
For mothers of children in Massachusetts, legal parentage and the rights that surround it is automatic; birth mothers do not need to do anything to prove that they are a child’s mother, and a mother’s name is automatically added to a child’s birth certificate.
Even parents who are divorcing but able to work together amicably often find that reaching an agreement about child custody is difficult. For those whose relationships are contentious, resolving disagreements about child custody usually proves to be that much more difficult.
While some issues in a divorce are unique to a couple based on their particular situation, all couples who are divorcing in Massachusetts must face the issue of property division. For some couples, dividing property may be easier than for others – this is especially true when a couple owns few assets. For other couples, though, dividing property can be a complex process that demands the input of various experts.
Regardless of who you are, getting a divorce can be complicated. Of course, for some couples, divorce is more complex than it is for others. For gay couples who are separating, this may be the case, as gay couples may encounter unique issues in the divorce.
Family law attorneys, counselors, and psychologists all do their best to minimize trauma for the children in situations where the parents are separating or going through a divorce. One new method of coping with the trauma is called “birdnesting, “ which is a means of keeping the family home intact and providing stability for the children during this very stressful time.
Gay, or same-sex divorce, is a relatively new phenomenon since the historic passage of Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 in which the U.S. Supreme court legitimized same-sex marriage in every state. Massachusetts had been ahead of the curve since it legalized same-sex marriage in 2004 in the case of Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, declaring that it was a violation of our state’s constitution to allow only heterosexual marriages. But of course, most of the problems that plague heterosexual couples also impact gay couples with some distinctions since 13 states had banned same-sex marriage before Obergefell.
If you know someone who has gone through a contentious child custody dispute or have read about the travails of other couples, then you are aware that this can create emotional issues that can poison your future relationship with your spouse and have a profound impact on your children. Should you find that you are battling with your spouse or ex over who will be the primary custodian, here are 7 tips to consider that may help to resolve these issues.
Alimony, or spousal support, is available in a divorce or separation where the needy spouse can demonstrate that there is a pressing financial need, and the paying spouse has the ability to pay. These payments are in addition to a child support order that may affect the decision whether to award spousal support.
The decision as to whether you are entitled to alimony in Massachusetts is determined by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 208 Section 34 and the Alimony Reform Act of 2011. The combined incomes of the parties are considered in this determination. If you and your spouse have unemancipated children and your combined incomes are less than $250,000, alimony will likely not be awarded. If your combined incomes exceed $250,000, then child support calculations are based on the first $250,000.