Divorce is a highly emotional time and when you are going through such a trying life event, practical matters may be far from your mind. But despite the emotional toll, it is important that you consider financial matters – if not for yourself, for the well-being of your loved ones. You will get through this…

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If you are going through a divorce, there are many things to consider. It is a difficult time, emotions are high, and you are confronted with a number of decisions that you may not be in the best state of mind to make. Now, no two divorces will be identical, so while having a support system…

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PC Agreement Held Enforceable. A recent Appeals Court decision held that an agreement to use a parenting coordinator (PC) was enforceable, even where one party does not want to use one anymore. The father had sought the appointment of a new PC after the PC’s initial one-year term ended; the Probate and Family Court judge…

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“Agreed upon Educational Expenses” and the Price of Silence. Because “agreed upon expenses” recurs so frequently in our agreements, this recent case from the Appeals Court should be of great interest. The separation agreement, incorporated into a California divorce judgment and registered in Massachusetts, provided that each party would pay one-half of all agreed-upon educational…

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What standard must a Probate and Family Court use when faced with a modification of a child support order when the case is within the Child Support Guidelines?  The trial judge in this case dismissed the modification complaint because, although the ex-husband’s income had increased, she found there was not a “substantial and material change…

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As mediators and lawyers, we are often confronted with out-of-state divorce judgments.  Since Massachusetts has the most generous emancipation statute in the country, those out-of-state judgments often provide that support ends long before a child’s 23rd birthday, depending on the state.  Steve and Mary Ellen Freddo had four children and were divorced in Florida.  Following…

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While the circumstances of each divorce vary from couple to couple, there has been a recent influx in “Gray Divorce,” or divorce involving couples over the age of fifty.  This growing phenomenon poses its own set of complications. Most of these issues involve alimony and retirement, things which younger married couples sometimes haven’t even begun…

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The Probate Court equalized the incomes of two parents with a child support order.  On the father’s appeal, the Appeals Court affirmed.  On further appellate review, the SJC vacated the support award, holding that “income equalization is inconsistent with principles that inform child support orders in the Commonwealth.” Such orders, said the SJC, should not…

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Material Change Trumps Inconsistency Standard. Marlene Morales sought to modify child support when her ex-husband’s hourly wage increased $.87 per hour. Although child support would have increased in this Guidelines case, the Probate and Family judge dismissed Marlene’s modification action on the basis that she failed to prove “a material change of circumstances.” On appeal,…

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In a divorce action, a Probate and Family Court found that a father in the real estate business was underemployed and imputed income to him for purposes of calculating child support. The Court averaged the father’s income over the previous five years while acknowledging that it did not reflect his current actual income. The Appeals…

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