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Middlesex County Divorce Law Blog

Legal hurdles if custody is violated by international kidnapping

International parental kidnapping is the official term used when one parent, generally after a divorce, takes a child to another country so that the other parent cannot be involved with the child. This is a violation of child custody rights, and it is illegal in Massachusetts under federal law. Parents are not allowed to obstruct a custody ruling in this way, whether they agree with it or not.

There are some legal hurdles that can be faced if this happens, however, and you should be aware of what the legal battle may look like if you find yourself in this position.

Billionaire Harold Hamm to pay historic sum to ex-wife

The renowned multi-billionaire entrepreneur, Harold Hamm, will be going down in history books for having one of the most expensive divorces ever. Over the last half-decade, the oil and gas magnate has built an empire in the industry, as he shrewdly amassed a fortune of an estimated $18 billion. According to Forbes, he is the 24th richest individual in America. Now, his soon-to-be ex-wife will be crowned one of the richest women in the United States, too, as a result of the massive divorce payments she will receive.

The billionaire entrepreneur did not enter into a prenuptial agreement with his second wife Sue Ann Hamm when they married in 1988. Now, a judge has ruled that he will pay Mrs. Hamm approximately $1 billion in divorce payments. The massive payout will occur over a period of years.

What are the legal advantages to same-sex partners marrying?

The number of states where same-sex couples can legally marry seems to be growing by the week. It may seem hard to believe that it's only been a little over a decade since same-sex marriage was in Massachusetts. For gay couples in a committed relationship who now have the chance to take their union to the next step, there are some important legal issues to consider.

If one spouse dies, issues involving inheritance, taxes, property and parental rights are generally less complicated than for an unmarried couple.

Why high asset divorces demand an attorney

When a married couple has significant assets, a divorce can become a true battle. Not all high asset divorces are like this, but property division can be very contentious. It seems the only thing divorcing couples may fight over more is their children.

When it comes to a high asset divorce, there can be a wide range of assets, including real estate, businesses, off-shore accounts, stocks, retirement accounts and more. Art collections, vehicles and other property can all be things that couples fight over.

When a business is part of property division in a divorce

Many married couples own businesses that they have put a lot of time, energy and money into. What happens to the business when such a couple divorces? If there have been plans made for what would happen in a divorce, then the property division can go much more smoothly. However, many couples don't take the time to consider prenuptial agreements or buy/sell agreements before getting married.

Here are six steps that should be considered when divorcing while owning a business:

The changes to alimony in Massachusetts

Some people have speculated that alimony, as it has been traditionally understood, could be coming to an end. They point to recent reforms that were made to the laws in Massachusetts as evidence of this change.

Before the reforms, alimony could be permanent. This meant that some people got married for just a little while -- maybe just a few years -- and then had to spend far more time making alimony payments. The reforms got rid of this and set up a new formula to be used in determining how much would have to be paid and for how long.

When child custody and visitation isn't easily agreed upon

Ideally, divorcing parents agree on child custody, parenting plans and visitation. Unfortunately, that ideal situation doesn't always occur. As a result, many child custody and visitation cases are battled out in court, with a judge making the final determinations.

Because child custody can be such an acrimonious issue, it is necessary to have someone on your side who is not so emotionally vested. An experienced family law attorney can provide advice and guidance to you as you work to do what is best for your child or children.

How to make the divorce process easier

Middlesex County, Massachusetts, couples contemplating divorce may be uneasy about how the proceedings will play out. From issues such as child custody and support to property division and alimony, this area of family law can be quite complex. This is why we want to provide the quality representation you need during your divorce.

Child custody can be one of the most contentious areas of a divorce. Ideally, parents can agree on custody and visitation; however, when that is not the case, you want a legal team that can litigate for what you believe is in your child's best interests. We also represent clients on paternity issues.

Can alimony payments be modified in Massachusetts?

Alimony in Massachusetts is ordered by the court in a divorce based upon a number of factors. Those might include how long a couple has been married, the individual incomes of each spouse and whether one spouse stayed at home to take care of the children. In some cases, it may be necessary for the court to review the original order of alimony because of a difference in circumstances with one or both of the ex-spouses.

According to Chapter 208, Section 37 of the Massachusetts Session Laws, either party may bring an action for a revision in judgment of alimony. The judge can change the amount of the alimony or otherwise alter the order. This can be done even for alimony orders that are from a foreign jurisdiction if it is determined that the jurisdiction did not have the authority over both parties to issue the alimony order.

Is there a gender-based psychological side to property division?

When two people are divorced Massachusetts, property division may quickly become the most important thing on their minds. They need to find a way to split up their assets and wealth that works fairly, though the law does not give distinct guidelines to say who is entitled to what. Since couples may have bought things jointly or forgotten who owned certain things, they have to come to an agreement or work through the court system to find one.

One interesting thing to look at is a report detailing how men and women may approach this a bit differently.

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Novick & Meyers
Attorneys & Counselors at Law

3 Courthouse Lane, Unit 6
Chelmsford, MA 01824
Phone: (978) 256-4500
Fax: (978) 459-1700
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