Divorce Lawyers Assisting Clients in Hanover, MA, and Surrounding Areas
Divorce can be trying on both parties, and it is beneficial to learn about the resources available to you right from the start, as you enter this process. You can file for divorce if you reside in Massachusetts and the cause for the divorce occurred within the state. If the courts determine that you have not lived in Massachusetts for one year, you may need to file in the state you lived in prior where you had residency. If you have had residency in the state of Massachusetts for the past year, you can file and represent yourself or obtain the services of an attorney.
There are several important factors that arise in divorce, and almost all of them can have emotions attached to them. This is one of the many reasons obtaining the services of a trusted attorney is appealing. Having a team on your side to help you make sense of the situation and what is expected during a divorce can help to ease the frustrations and stress on you. What happens to my kids? What happens to our assets? Who will have custody? All of these are typical questions that we help you to answer through this process.
Contact O’Connor Family Law at 774-214-2137 to find out more regarding your divorce and the specific questions you have.
What Are My Divorce Options?
In the state of Massachusetts, there are two types of divorce, and both of them can be contested.
No-Fault Divorce is filed when neither of the parties blames the other specifically for the failed marriage. If this is contested, it means that though both parties agree that there was no specific fault on either party, they can’t agree on things such as alimony, child support, child custody, or the division of assets/property. If uncontested, it means both parties are in agreement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down and that they have created or will create a written agreement specifying things like parenting time, child custody (both legal and physical), child support, and the division of assets.
Fault Divorce is filed when one of the parties blames the other for the breakdown of the marriage based on one of these seven circumstances; adultery, gross and confirmed habits of intoxication, desertion, impotency, a prison sentence of five or more years, non-support, or cruel and abusive treatment. Though the reasons for filing a Fault Divorce can seem straightforward, it is actually less common than one would think. It can be time-consuming and stressful to prove one of the seven circumstances involved in the Fault Divorce and much more complex than a No-Fault filing. Investigations are conducted, witnesses are interviewed, and evidence is collected to prove fault, which typically takes a lot of time and expertise. This is one reason why No-Fault Divorces are more common.
Separate Support is also an option in Massachusetts. Some states refer to this as a Legal Separation. You can file for Separate Support if you’re married and your spouse has failed to support you, has deserted you, or you have “justifiable cause” to live apart. “Justifiable cause” can include desertion, adultery, or abuse. It is not the same as a divorce but can help you to obtain support for yourself or your children or keep your spouse from putting limitations on your personal life/choices.
Working with an experienced family law firm to handle any of the above options can help you not only to ease your mind but to streamline the paperwork that is needed, determine the legal fees involved, and generally save you time in handling these items yourself.
What is Mediation and How Can it Help Me?
Mediation can be incredibly helpful in coming to an agreement in most of the major areas of divorce. It is voluntary by both parties and allows for a trained neutral party to facilitate conversations that will help untangle the facts and concerns of both parties involved. In the case of a No-Fault Divorce, for instance, when the parties both agree that neither is at fault but can’t agree on things like child support or custody, a mediator can help them to come to an agreement they are both comfortable with so that they can proceed with the uncontested filing of a No-Fault Divorce.
How Long Does Divorce Take?
This answer varies greatly, as each situation is unique. There are many factors involved, such as whether or not you are filing for a Fault-Divorce, for instance. As discussed above, proving fault can be time-consuming due to the additional steps involved with this type of filing. Other things like how backlogged the courts are and whether or not the other party is contesting aspects of the divorce, such as alimony, child support, etc., can also extend the process. Some couples determine they want a divorce, and one of the parties is in a hurry, and the other wants to wait. Discussions such as the children’s future or moving to other areas as the couple will no longer reside together can also slow the process as you need these items confirmed before determining child custody and support. Generally speaking, an uncontested divorce can take up to seven or eight months to finalize. Due to either party contesting aspects of the divorce along the way, the process can take a year or longer to complete.
Having handled numerous cases similar to yours at O’Connor Family Law, we are confident in our ability to help you through this process in a respectful and timely fashion. Coming to the decision to divorce isn’t easy, but the steps following that decision don’t have to feel impossible. Let our attorneys help ease your burden and make sense of all that is important to you because it is important to us as well.
Contact us today at 774-214-2137 to get started.