Hanover Divorce Lawyer
The end of a marriage can an emotional time as both parties work to resolve the terms of their divorce. Depending on the chain of events leading up to the divorce, the legal process can be contentious and stressful for everyone involved. We want to help make this process a little easier for you.
Our Hanover divorce lawyers can help alleviate your stress amid this process and work diligently to give you peace of mind. With over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, our legal team understands the various complications and challenges that may arise during this process and we are ready to help you through them.
What are the Grounds for Divorce in Hanover?
Allegations of fault are not required for someone to file for divorce in the state of Massachusetts. However, if factors such as abandonment, abuse, or infidelity contributed to the dissolution of a marriage, one spouse may choose to file a fault-based divorce.
In a no-fault divorce, there does not need to be any allegations of misconduct. There simply needs to be an admission that the marriage isn’t working. Additionally, divorces can be either contested or uncontested, depending upon how they are filed. The key is when the Court gets involved in the process. In an uncontested divorce, the case gets filed with the Court after all of the terms of the divorce have been agreed upon and all the divorce paperwork is complete. In a contested divorce, the case gets filed before any or all of the terms are worked out. If, within a contested divorce, one or both parties dispute the terms of the divorce, the case may proceed to trial for a judge to decide on matters such as child custody, alimony, and property division. Alternatively, if a couple in Hanover can amicably work through their divorce proceedings, they may negotiate the terms of their agreement with the help of their attorneys and submit it to a judge for approval. If you think you may need court intervention though, it may be best simply to file an uncontested divorce. You cannot get help from a Judge in deciding issues within an uncontested divorce.
There are different strategies that go into representing a person when they are going through an uncontested versus a contested divorce. Regardless of the manner of the divorce, usually a negotiated agreement will get you your best outcome. Sometimes you definitely need to litigate a case – such as when the other parent will not let you see your children or one spouse is extremely controlling or lying about their finances – in those cases, it is very hard to be able to reach a settlement without input from the Judge. Because all our firm practices is family law, we have seen almost all situations within relationships and we are prepared to deal with any divorce or custody case, regardless of the amount of conflict or the unusual issues that may be present.
To have their divorce case heard by a Massachusetts’ judge, the couple must be able to establish jurisdiction for the proceedings. At least one of the parties must have resided in Massachusetts for a minimum of 12 months. The county the case will be filed in also depends upon where the Parties lived while married. For example, if a married couple lived in Hanover for at least one year, the divorce would be filed in Plymouth County. If the couple lived together in Hanover, but then they separated and one of them moved to Canton for a year prior to filing, the person filing would have their choice to either file in Plymouth County or Norfolk County. If, in the prior scenario, our Canton resident hadn’t lived there for a year, then the divorce would still have to be filed in Plymouth County. If you’re able to pick between two counties, make sure you speak to one of our attorneys to help figure out what courthouse the issues in your case have the best chance at being resolved in your favor.
If the residency requirements cannot be met, then there is an exception for cases where the breakdown of the marriage occurred within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This requires a showing of proof if the other side contests jurisdiction.
Property Division Matters During Divorce
One of the most significant issues in a divorce case is the division of marital property. The law classifies property into two categories — marital and separate property. Marital property refers to all assets that either spouse had or secured during their marriage, while separate property indicates assets obtained before the marriage that, as the name suggests, were kept separate and apart from the marriage. Personal gifts and future or recently inherited money are generally considered separate property. The best way to protect assets brought into the marriage is through a prenupatial agreement, however. Depending upon which Judge is assigned to your case and the length of your marriage, it’s possible that those assets you brought into the marriage have legally merged into marital property that will need to be divided within a divorce.
For example, let’s say you had a home prior to your marriage. That would be your individual property. Now, after your marriage, your spouse moves in with you. The two of you put in money toward the mortgage and you both invest money into doing some repairs or construction to the home. It’s possible that a Judge could consider that your house has “comingled” with marital assets in a manner that causes it to be a marital asset needing to be split up within the divorce. Just because you brought it into the marriage does not always mean you will walk out with it within a divorce.
While property that is held to be separate or individual property might not be divided during a divorce, marital property will be. The family court will divide a couple’s marital assets based on a theory of equitable distribution. This means that a couple’s assets will be divided “fairly,” which does not always mean they will be divided equally. Equitable distribution means that the Court will look to a number of factors and then divide property (or the value of property) in a manner it deems to be fair to each of the Parties based on those factors. The future ability of either spouse to earn a living, the physical wellbeing of each party, along with their ages and the part each person played in securing and increasing the value of their marital assets are some of the factors that may influence a judge’s final decision. Our knowledgeable attorneys in Hanover can help you fight for your fair portion of the marital assets subject to division in your divorce.
Child Custody Concerns
It is often most desirable for divorcing spouses with children to work out custodial arrangements amicably. If, however, you cannot agree with your soon-to-be ex-spouse about the custody of your children, the court is likely to step in. The child’s best interests are the fundamental concern of the court when deciding child-related issues.
Custody can be arranged in several ways. Parents may have joint physical or joint legal custody or one parent could have sole physical custody or sole legal custody. When considering what type of arrangement is in the child’s best interests, the court also may consider the ability of each parent to provide a caring, secure environment and whether one parent is better equipped to attend to the child’s needs and nurture the child’s relationship with the other parent. Issues regarding children can bring up much of the contention in a divorce because each parent may have very different beliefs about what is best for their children. Our compassionate Hanover lawyers can help you protect your parental rights while going through a divorce.
Contact Our Hanover Divorce Attorneys Today
Our Hanover divorce lawyers at O’Connor Family Law can provide invaluable legal counsel and assistance throughout your case. It is best to have strong legal representation on your side to safeguard your rights and privileges. Call today to discuss the concerns you may be having regarding the dissolution of your marriage.