Life happens and two individuals can grow apart. In the eyes of the law, marriage is a legal contract between two individuals. Dissolving that legal contract can be difficult.Fault vs. No Fault Divorce
In a divorce, generally one spouse files the divorce proceeding against the other spouse. In Massachusetts, you need a reason to get a divorce, but there does not need to be a fault by one party.
In the Commonwealth, one spouse could claim that their spouse was at fault (for example, adultery, desertion, addiction, abuse, refusal of spousal support, or confinement), which would be grounds for a divorce. However, this is not necessary. Most people obtaining a divorce merely allege here has been an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage between the spouses. Because Massachusetts allows for this, we are a “no fault” divorce state.Types of No Fault Divorces – Section 1A and 1B
In situations where there is a no fault divorce, the couple is often going to be in agreement that there has been a breakdown of the marriage. But they won’t agree to issues like support, alimony, or custody, or property distribution.
If the parties are able to agree as to those items, the divorce is a M.G.L. c. 208 Section 1A divorce, which is also known as an uncontested divorce. If any of those items are contested, it falls into a Section 1B divorce category.The Financial Statement
The Financial Statement is the most important document in a divorce. It is a several page sheet that has to be filled out by each party and it discloses all of the Spouse’s sources of income, assets, real estate holdings, support obligations, and other items.
In a divorce, when separating out the property, the court first has to make a determination as to what property is there and how to split it evenly, so the financial statement is crucial.
In addition to the financial statement, the other party has to disclose items under Supplemental Probate and Family Court Rule 410. Each party has to disclose:
- Three years of tax returns with the supporting documents (W2s, 1099s, and so on)
- Recent pay stubs;
- Information on Health Insurance coverage;
- Three years of bank statements;
- Three years of bank or loan applications; and
- Three years of financial statements
Once we have those items, your divorce can move forward. If the other side has not been honest or forthright, there are steps that can be taken through tools like Requests for Production, Interrogatories, or even Depositions, to obtain the truth and correct the record.
Throughout this whole process an experienced lawyer will be attempting to negotiate a settlement with the other side to try to have the divorce come to an end without a trial.
In addition to divorces, our family law attorneys work closely with individuals to efficiently handle the following matters
- Custody/visitation arrangements
- Child support
- Property division
- Complex marital property disputes
- Child support
- Post-judgment modification
- Estate Planning And Probate Issues
When family matters necessitate legal assistance to bring about resolution, it is reassuring to know there are attorneys who are as concerned with the emotional well-being of clients as they are with helping them achieve their legal goals.
For your family law issues, give us a call for a free consultation at (978) 458 - 1229.Estate Planning
Marcotte Law Firm also helps individuals devise plans for the efficient disbursement of their estate to beneficiaries. Our family law and estate planning attorneys are happy to help with issues related to:
- Wills and trusts
- Powers of attorney
- Health care proxies
In addition, we provide estate administration support to families who have lost a loved one. Our attorneys handle the estate distribution details so you and your family can focus on more personal family matters.
You want a compassionate and experience advocate on your side. Give us a call for a free consultation at (978) 458 - 1229.