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Middlesex County Divorce Law Blog

Assets and prenup become issue in celebrity chef's divorce

Celebrity chef Bobby Flay and his wife Stephanie March separated last month. Since news of the breakup made it into the limelight, rumors have surfaced that Flay was unfaithful to his wife. Now, allegations have surfaced that Stephanie March is spreading rumors concerning her estranged husband.

According to People Magazine, March is terribly upset about the accusations that she is creating rumors. In response to the accusations, she said that she believes Flay's friends and lawyers are just speculating and projecting. Meanwhile, a representative from Flay's camp advised People Magazine that they will refrain from responding to efforts to spread innuendo and rumors. The representative said that the allegation that March was spreading rumors was sent in confidence from one attorney to another, and it should not have been leaked to the press.

The difference between a contested and an uncontested divorce

Massachusetts residents are basically given the option between two different types of divorces: uncontested and contested. While both of these filings will eventually end with the marriage dissolved, there are some differences between the two. It's a good idea to be familiar with both so you know what to expect as you go through the divorce process.

The no-fault uncontested divorce is probably the easiest way to end a marriage. In these cases, both parties have agreed that there has been an "irretrievable breakdown" in the marriage and agreed on how the assets will be separated. Those terms will be put into a separation agreement, and you will have to have attended the parent education classes and filed your financial disclosures before a date can be set for the hearing.

Judge allows woman to serve divorce papers on Facebook

It really has become the digital age. In a recent story out of another east coast state, a judge has allowed a woman to serve her husband with divorce papers via Facebook.

The woman has spent years trying to locate and serve her husband divorce papers. When she was finally able to speak with him on the phone, he said that he wasn't employed and didn't have a permanent address. He also would not tell her where he was so she could have him served.

How can I lower my alimony payments in Massachusetts?

If you are short on cash and having a hard time paying your alimony obligations, you may be happy to hear that alimony payments in Massachusetts are not necessarily set in stone. If there is a material change in an alimony payer's ability to pay his or her monthly obligation, legal grounds may exist to lower the amount of alimony. Similarly, if there is a material change in the alimony recipient's need for money, then sufficient grounds may exist for lowering the payments in this case too.

Material changes could include earning less money in one's job, becoming ill and no longer being able to earn as much money as previously, or the recipient of the alimony might have a drastic change in economic circumstances. If the recipient wins the lottery or obtains an inheritance from a relative, for example, the payer might be able to argue for a lowering or ending of his or her obligations.

What life events can cause a Massachusetts divorce?

The negative aspects of divorce, like divisions of property, debt and questions about spousal support, can be so severe that it leaves many Massachusetts residents wondering what they may have done wrong in their marriage. While no one can know for sure the reason why a particular marriage was doomed to fail, there are a few events that -- if they occur -- may cause some concern.

Living apart is one of those events that can trigger any manner of problems in a marriage. According to RAND Corporation, which conducted a study of military families in 2013, the longer an enlisted service person was deployed away from his or her spouse, the higher chance there was that the marriage would end. This could have as much to do with the time apart as it has to do to the time re-adjusting to being back together again after living apart.

Seeking alimony payments in Massachusetts

At Novick & Meyers, we have helped countless individuals seek alimony payments in their divorce proceedings. Sometimes, it is necessary for us to empower individuals to feel "okay" about seeking these kinds of benefits from their soon-to-be ex-spouse. However, when a client in need of financially help sees the reality of their situation, it is fairly easy to understand why alimony payment are fair to both sides of the divorce.

If a Massachusetts resident is married to a spouse who earns more money, the lower-earning spouse is at a severe financial disadvantage coming out of the marriage. Indeed, the threat of cutting off this income stream was enough to keep many spouses in toxic -- and even physically or psychologically abusive -- marriages for the rest of their lives. Alimony laws solve this problem by giving a spouse a means to sever ties with the marriage and begin a new, independent life while not becoming financially destitute.

Rapper Ludacris receives full custody of his daughter

Rapper Ludacris has received full custody of his daughter in an emotional legal battle with the mother of the child. He has also received a child support award of $2,000 per month. In his legal case, the rapper was able to argue that his career and net worth have suffered cash flow issues since last year's death of fellow actor Paul Walker, which caused problems for a movie they were filming.

The rapper, whose net worth is estimated at $25 million, started out his child custody case on the defensive. The mother of his daughter was asking for full custody in addition to $15,000 per month in child support. The mother made fierce claims against the rapper, saying that he begged her to abort the child and even offered to pay for the procedure if she went through with it. Because of the harsh nature of the woman's claims against him, Ludacris requested that the records be sealed.

What is sole custody?

Divorcing couples who have children will need to consider what type of child custody arrangements they want at the completion of their divorce. Some couples choose joint custody (shared custody), while other couples choose sole custody (just one parent has custody). The most common custody arrangements these days are joint custody ones, so let's look at sole custody and see what it entails.

Sole custody arrangements are not very common, and they usually come about after one or the other parent is determined unfit or not able to care for a child. Some reasons why a parent might be determined unfit are histories of child abuse, drug addiction or criminal activity.

Same-Sex Couples: What is the Defense of Marriage Act?

The Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996 as a federal law to define marriage as a strictly heterosexual union and to ban gay couples from receiving federal benefits. The law gave individual states the right to decide whether they would allow same-sex marriage, and to decide whether they would recognize same-sex unions from other states.

Before DOMA, the federal government had always recognized any kind of marriage deemed to be legal by the state in which it was carried out. After DOMA, gay marriage was essentially invalidated on the federal level.

Young mother stripped of child custody rights due to disability

Just two days after a 19-year-old Massachusetts woman gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, the state's Department of Children and Families took the infant away and put her in a foster home. A lot of people were left to wonder why. According to the government, the answer was simple: the young mother suffered from a developmental disability and therefore, she was not fit to care for the child.

According to state child welfare officials, the woman was not able to care for her baby properly; the organization continues to insist that it took immediate action in the interest of the child. However, the federal government has offered a dissenting opinion. According to a recent report on the matter, Massachusetts violated the 19-year-old mother's civil rights, and in the act of stripping away her child custody and parental rights, the state discriminated against a person with a disability.

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