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December 2014 Archives

Which parent has custody before going to court?

Determining who has legal custody of a child immediately after his or her parents separate will greatly depend in Massachusetts on whether or not the child's parents are married. If a child's parents are married and they have not yet gone to court after separating, both parents will share legal custody. This means that both parents will have an equal say in all of the major decisions in their child's life, including education and health care.

Splitting a 401(k) during a Massachusetts divorce

In many cases when a couple files for divorce, the court will decide how the couple divides their assets. If the court decides to split one party's 401(k) plan with the other party as part of the property division order, the party whose name is on the plan should be careful to ensure that the court issues a valid qualified domestic relations order stating the details of this division.

Protective orders in Massachusetts

People seeking protective orders against an abusive or potentially abusive household member or relative normally aim to receive a long-term order from the court. This type of order requires a court hearing so that the court can hear both sides of the story. The court requires the person filing the order to appear in court, but the other party does not have to appear for the court to issue the order. This type of order is in effect for up to a year, but the court may extend this time if it is still necessary.

How a child's best interests are determined

Custody battles can be hard on everyone involved, especially on children. Consideration of a child's best interests is the priority of the court system in Massachusetts. The definition of the best interests has not been standardized, but it typically means the consideration of actions and conditions that will best address a child's needs. Many factors are taken into consideration as decisions about custody and parenting time are made.

The treatment of an inheritance during property division

Massachusetts courts follow the principle of equitable distribution when making property division determinations during a divorce. Equitable distribution does not always mean that the assets are divided equally. It means that property the couple acquired during their marriage, including debt, is divided fairly by the court between the two spouses. However, an asset such as an inheritance is not typically lumped into this.

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