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Worcester MA Family Law Blog

State sees a surge in child support payments after new campaign

Although it did not occur here in Massachusetts, our state's residents may have heard about a campaign that a county from another state put on. The campaign consisted of placing information on flyers that were then attached to pizza boxes. That information was related to individuals who were considered to be the "most wanted" for child support arrears.

The tactic is very similar to a technique that was used many years ago -- placing pictures of missing children on the side of milk cartons. This was a way to increase awareness and reach as many people as possible. Using pizza boxes to do the same for those who owe child support is a unique approach to tackling an issue that seems to never go away.

Wife loses out on millions after slander allegation in a divorce

When a Massachusetts couple decides to divorce, there may be some negative feelings from the husband or wife. These feelings can stem from one of them not wanting the divorce, and they can even stem from bitter litigation. Although there is no right or wrong way to feel in a divorce, it is best to keep those feelings out of the public eye. One wife in another state has just been given a very small percentage of her husband's finances during the divorce proceedings, after she allegedly slandered her husband to the public.

Family and close friends are there to talk to during a divorce. It is a big, life-changing event, so it is natural that one would want to have a listening ear. What one should never do, however, is to publicly bash and ridicule their former significant other -- no matter how many negative feelings are there. In the court of law, there is a very fine line between venting to friends and public slander.

Sexual relations may soon be prohibited until a divorce is final

Many would describe their bedroom activity as the most private part of their lives. This is information that they do not share with anyone -- or at least no one other than their best friend. However, it would appear that couples going through a divorce in Massachusetts would have to inform others of their intent to have a sexual relationship under the roof of their own home if a new bill is passed.

This bill would prohibit a couple going through a divorce from having sexual affairs inside the home until the divorce has been finalized by a judge. It seems as though this bill primarily targets couples with children. The legislation would apply to parents who have children and share a home that can be described as "marital" in nature.

Paternity claim filed by mother to obtain child support payments

Many mothers and fathers in Massachusetts do not wish to have to go the legal route to determine the paternity of a child. However, it is often necessary in order to protect the child or to obtain financial assistance in caring for the child. For mothers who hope to get child support from the biological father of their child, establishing paternity is necessary. This is exactly what one woman has done with the paternity claim she has filed.

A superintendent has been named in a paternity lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by a former student of the school district, who says she began a sexual relationship with the man after she graduated. She claims that she became pregnant and informed the man that he was the biological father. However, he reportedly denied it and refused to undergo a paternity test.

Billionaire may lose large amount of money in divorce

When a marriage goes well, both people may feel they are winning: They can share assets and property in addition to enjoying each other's companionship. However, when a marriage goes sour, both individuals may struggle with ending the marriage in addition to saying goodbye to valuable assets in Massachusetts. In a recent situation, a billionaire stands to lose a fortune -- literally -- in what could be one of the biggest divorce settlements revealed to the public to date.

In this out-of-state situation, billionaire Harold Hamm has a controlling stake in the company Continental Resources Inc. He has 125 million shares, the enhanced value of which might end up being distributed as a marital asset. This is because, even though the shares' value at the time of their marriage is not viewed as a joint asset -- as the stock is actually considered a premarital asset -- the value of the appreciation of those shares certainly could still be a joint asset. That has yet to be determined in court.

Understanding the negative impact social media has on a divorce

Over the last several years, social networking has becoming a very popular activity. Many Massachusetts residents will post pictures of their birthday parties, their new car and time spent with their friends. Most people think nothing of the words or images that they post on sites such as Facebook. However, when a couple decides to divorce, Facebook content -- images, status updates, etc. -- is fair game.

In the past, spouses would hire private investigators to spy on their soon-to-be ex-spouse to see if they could be caught in the act of doing something wrong. If a spouse could be found cheating or being an unfit parent, the other spouse could have a much more favorable divorce settlement. However, in today's day and age, all it sometimes takes is a quick look at a person's Facebook to find out more than enough information to discriminate them.

Financial pitfalls for Massachusetts couples filing for divorce

Child custody decisions are often cited as the most difficult part of a divorce. Massachusetts couples may find that financial matters could prove equally tricky. Gaining knowledge of the known pitfalls before filing for divorce may be useful. Couples may want to anticipate any eventualities that may occur after the divorce.

Something to keep in mind is that although marital debts may be split between the parties during a divorce, all documents signed before a divorce remain legally binding. The person whose signature appears on the document will still be held responsible if that debt is unpaid. It is, therefore, advisable to settle all possible outstanding debts before filing for divorce.

Father fights "secret" adoption in child custody case

Biologically speaking, mothers and fathers in Massachusetts do not share the same level of control over the earliest portion of the lives of their shared children. This is due to the fact that a mother carries her unborn child, and can make a range of decisions without the input or consent of the father. Many child custody cases have made headlines in recent months wherein fathers have lost their parental rights when a mother places her newborn baby up for adoption. For these men, it can be a long and hard road to regain access to their children.

Recently, one father took action to regain his rights after his daughter was put up for adoption without his consent. The man had previously provided support for his girlfriend, who was pregnant with their child when she dropped out of sight during her third trimester. Much later, he was told that the baby did not survive.

Rise in divorce rate hand-in-hand with strengthening economy

Divorce can be many things, but it is certainly not the end. Although divorce is sometimes not easy on the parties involved, moving on is the most important step to take toward clearer skies. Spouses in Massachusetts seeking a divorce should consider legal rights and procedures in order to achieve a smooth process, and those recovering from divorce can benefit from protecting individual rights thereafter. Recently, statistics have shown that with the stabilizing economy comes an increase in the rate of divorce.

People are finding more opportunities today to divorce, and they may have a different attitude toward staying together, especially if they questioned the marriage when the economy was bad. This is in stark contrast to the America of the recession. Research shows that this is due to a change in the economy as it normalizes, and that the rise in divorce has increased dramatically in the past few years.

"Move away" child custody cases more complicated

Divorce can already be a challenging hurdle for a family to overcome, but it is made more so when children are involved. Child custody, as many Massachusetts families can attest, can be a considerable stumbling block on the road to an efficient and mutually beneficial separation. This is particularly true in cases where one parent wishes to relocate outside of the state or even the country. Such cases require courts to consider specific elements in order to come to an equitable solution that takes the child's best interests into consideration.

The most important factor considered by judges in move-away cases is maintaining stability in the child's life. Depending on the age of the child or children in question, a court may recommend that the child stay in one place rather than uprooting them from an established life. Of course, this is also dependent on the distance of the move and the reason it is being requested.

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Robert A. Antonioni, Esq.
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