Tireless, Assertive Advocacy for Spouses and Parents in New Bedford, Plymouth, Boston, Quincy, Hingham, Norfolk Counties
Attorney Rachel M. Matos is a dedicated family lawyer who understands the sensitivity and intense emotions that surround family law disputes. Separation, high net worth divorce, and child custody disagreements are some of life's most difficult experiences. Throughout every stage of the legal process, the Law Offices of Rachel M. Matos will work with you to ensure the best outcome for your situation and family. You can rest assured that throughout you will have a zealous advocate on your side every step of the way.
Our firm handles the following areas of family law for the Bristol County community:
Getting a Divorce in Massachusetts
Any couple may file for divorce in Massachusetts if the petitioning spouse has lived in the state for at least 1 year or if the marriage ended in the state and the couple has lived in Massachusetts as a couple. Note that whether you and your spouse settle your divorce agreement on your own or before a judge in a trial, there is a mandatory 6-month waiting period before your divorce will be granted.
Some issues you can expect to resolve in a divorce, whether in mediation or in court, are:
If you and your spouse collectively or individually own $1 million or more in assets, you should expect to pursue a high net worth divorce that could call for special considerations in the child support and alimony decision for high earners. Learn more about high net worth divorce here.
Division of Assets
In the realm of asset division, Massachusetts operates under equitable distribution, which means the marital property must be divided equitably and fairly, not necessarily equally. The property division process involves the following steps:
- Identifying the property to be divided.
- Assigning a monetary value to each distributable asset.
- Distributing the property.
Note that under Massachusetts’ equitable distribution laws, courts can distribute both marital and separate property (owned by only one spouse). However, a court will usually award separate property to the original owner.
The process of assigning monetary values to the distributable property can be complex, especially if assets include financial accounts. It is best to work with an attorney on this process, as they can consult a financial analyst and other experts for sound evaluations.
After values have been assigned to the property, spouses can proceed with division by assigning the items of property to each spouse. Some couples might decide to sell certain property and divide the proceeds. In some cases, spouses may agree to hold property together, such as if the property is an investment with potential for growth or a family home.
If the couple cannot agree on how to divide their property, a judge will make the decision based on the length of the marriage and each spouse’s:
- age, health, and station in life;
- occupation, vocational skills, and employability;
- amount and sources of income;
- liabilities and needs;
- contributions to the acquisition, preservation, or increase in value of their respective estates;
- contributions to the family unit as a homemaker;
- opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets and income;
- estate and inheritances.
Child Support and High-Income Parents
Child support is another important family law matter that will be decided in a divorce. To determine the amount of child support the noncustodial parent must provide, the court will examine both parents’ gross incomes, which might include traditional salaries as well as pensions and Social Security benefits. Massachusetts’ child support guidelines will also take into account the child custody and parenting time arrangement. For instance, if the noncustodial parent spends less than a third of the time with the child, the court may increase the amount of child support they must provide.
Note that child support is a particularly important issue in high net worth divorces because it requires the calculation of both parties’ incomes. If the other spouse is a high-income earner, the court may consider whether they can support their partner to maintain the same lifestyle as they were accustomed to during the marriage. Similarly, if the children went to private school, the court may order the high-income parent to continue providing reasonable support for private tuition.
Experience & Knowledge
“Really great service!” - Erick T
“I was extremely grateful and bless for her service” - Luis A.
If you are dealing with a family law dispute in Bristol County, MA, do not hesitate to reach out to the Law Offices of Rachel M. Matos for legal guidance. We can help you negotiate a favorable outcome in mediation or fight for your interests in court.
Schedule an initial consultation with our firm to start planning your legal options today.