divorce

Attorney and Counselor at Law

When you have exhausted all other means of negotiation and compromise with your spouse, divorce is typically the only option left available to you. Legally, your former union will be dissolved. That prospect can be daunting for most people. At the Woodacre Law Group, we pride ourselves in making the process as efficient as possible.

WE TAKE CARE OF THE PROcESS

That’s where your attorney steps in. We collect all the relevant information regarding your situation. And we use that information to represent you in court or when coming to a settlement. In non-contested cases, both spouses agree on what they are owed. In those instances, our task of negotiation becomes much simpler. It spares us the lengthy court appearances that can be costly for you. In contested cases, we are much more substantially involved. These involve having disagreements over assets, custody, or both. Bringing a contested case to trial means having all relevant information. This process is called discovery.

Discovery is the process of discovering information that will be important to determine what are the marital assets and liabilities and sources of income.

Within 45 days of filing for divorce Rule 410 requires the exchange of Mandatory Self Disclosure. 

Alimony

Alimony was incorporated into the IRS Code after WWII as an off shoot or appendage to the GI Bill.  Until 2019 Alimony was deductible to the payor and the payee had to pay taxes on that amount. 

In 1979, a case out of Alabama, Orr v Orr, was made law by the United States Supreme Court and Alimony became gender neutral. 

 Alimony is expected to be a temporary solution to transition a lesser earning spouse to a more financially independent condition.

Way before Massachusetts formulated a formal body of divorce law a judge named Friedman came up with a simplified conservative rule of thumb of : 

1/3 for Uncle Sam, 1/3 for support of spouse and children, and 1/3 for the wage earner.

 

Heretofore, Massachusetts was generally considered a very liberal alimony state. The Alimony Reform Act of 2011 made alimony calculations more inline with other states and national sociological trends.  It is more judicially consistent and formulaic.

Basically, there are now 4 types of Alimony: General Term, Rehabilitative, Reimbursement and Transitional.

Alimony generally ends when: the decree of final judgment states, the recipient remarries, recipients cohabits, payer reaches “full” year election for Social Security Retirement Age  or death of either of the parties.

The amount of Alimony is not an automatic entitlement. Economic need and Payor’s ability to pay must be shown. This is when “Discovery’ comes into play as an area where you can cut costs by organizing receipts, bank accounts, credit cards, employment contracts, annual Social Security reports, Tax Returns, Pay Stubs, 401K, pension or retirement statements.  It is also very important to determine your household expenses and try to anticipate your spouse’s needs.