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Leominster Legal Issues Blog

Is your spouse hiding assets?

If you are going through a divorce in Massachusetts, there is a lot you need to consider. Unfortunately, one factor you need to ponder is if your spouse has been hiding assets. Divorces, especially high asset ones, can get ugly, and one spouse may not think he or she should have to split everything in the divorce proceedings. However, the law states that all assets need to be declared, and there are a number of ways you can investigate if you think your spouse is not being forthcoming.

According to Huffington Post, assets are hidden in 66% of marriages, so it is crucial you take the time and effort to do the proper legwork. Money can be stashed in different places. These include:

  • Offshore accounts
  • Safe-deposit boxes
  • Friends or family members
  • Investment accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Real estate investments
  • Stock brokerage accounts

What should go into a postnuptial agreement?

Couples in Massachusetts who are entering into marriage may choose to skip having a prenuptial agreement because the thought of divorce seems truly unbelievable. However, once settled into married life, and once reality sets in, the couple may realize that an agreement of some type may be a smart idea. For many of these couples a postnuptial agreement may be in order.

According to ABC News, there are multiple reasons a couple may choose a postnup. One's income may have changed dramatically, one spouse chooses to stay home with the children or one of them is a business owner and wants to protect the company in the event of divorce. Each party should discuss with an attorney what he or she would like to state in the agreement. Some common things many couples choose to include are:

  • Division of individual and joint property/assets in the case of divorce
  • Division of home labor
  • Child or spousal support details
  • The payment of debts

Is my company required to offer Workers' Comp?

The purpose of Massachusetts’ Workers’ Compensation program is to give injured workers a system for recovering lost wages and medical costs due to a work-related injury. Massachusetts state government requires all employers, with some exceptions, to provide this insurance for its workers, including themselves if they draw a salary. The mandate covers all employees, no matter how many hours you work, with two exceptions.

If you are a domestic employee, you must work a minimum of 16 hours a week to qualify for Workers’ Compensation coverage. In addition to this rule, those not required to carry the insurance include members and partners of limited liability organizations, as well as sole proprietors of businesses that are unincorporated. If there are other employees of the limited liability organizations, however, they must be offered coverage. Corporate officers who own 25 percent or more of the corporation can seek an exemption from this insurance. Out-of-state companies operating in Massachusetts must still offer coverage to you and other employees who work in the state.

When does my divorce become official for tax filing?

As much as you may dread filing your taxes normally, after you have completed a divorce in Massachusetts court the idea of taxes becomes even more complicated by determining your filing status. If you were married at the end of the previous tax year but divorced now, how do you file? Do your changes in financial status such as alimony or child support payments affect your current filing?

According to Mass.gov, if you were still married at the end of the tax year you're filing for, then you still file as married even if that filing can be jointly or separately. Regardless of your situation at the time of filing, the tax filing itself is concerned with reporting and calculating income tax only up to the end of the previous tax year, before your marital status officially changed. You may also still file as married if you were granted a divorce judgment during the previous tax year, but it did not officially take effect until after the year ended.

5 incredible co-parenting tips for divorced couples

Your divorce changed your life. When your spouse asked for the split, you didn't lament the loss of the marriage as much as the changes to your life with the children. You have two of them, still in grade school, and you love spending time with them. You worry that the divorce will alter that relationship.

It can, but it does not have to. Below are five helpful tips that can keep your relationship with the children strong, even when you no longer live together as a family full-time. By taking an active approach and focusing on what you can do to build up those relationships, rather than lamenting the changes, you can work to build a positive future.

Can I request more alimony after divorce?

After your divorce in Massachusetts courts, you may be awarded an initial alimony payment from your ex-spouse to account for the financial needs of both you and your children. That alimony payment may be under temporary or conditional terms, or may be long-term - but what happens when the alimony payment is not enough? If you are struggling to support yourself and your family on the current alimony payment, or if your financial situation otherwise changes due to some hardship, can you request a larger alimony payment?

You may. You may not necessarily be granted that payment, but you have a right to petition for a higher payment and be heard. Ideally, if you feel you need more alimony, you and your spouse would agree and file jointly for an uncontested modification. If you have to pursue a decision from the courts to adjust the award, however, Mass.gov states that your case may be considered in the light of changes to your financial situation. This is called a material change.

How long do I have to notify about a slip and fall injury?

If you slip and fall on a snowy, icy sidewalk or other walkway maintained by either the Massachusetts municipality responsible for maintaining it or the property owner responsible for premises liability, you may suffer mild or serious personal injury. However, in order to pursue a claim against the municipality or person responsible for premises liability, is there a statute of limitations as far as how long you can wait to submit your claim?

Yes. According to Mass.gov, you have 30 days after a slip and fall to notify those responsible for any liability on their premises. Who you notify depends on if the sidewalk or walkway is on a public way or private property. However, your claim may not be considered if the walkway is considered otherwise reasonably convenient and safe for other travelers, even if it was not appropriately cleaned and cleared according to standards.

What if my former spouse threatens me for moving out?

When you choose to divorce from your partner in a high-conflict situation, you and/or your children may vacate the premises immediately for the sake of your own safety while the divorce is processed in Massachusetts courts. Yet you still need to return to the home to pack your and your children's possessions to complete the process of moving out. If your former spouse is hostile to you or endangers you or your children, do you have options for support from the courts?

You do. Massachusetts courts can issue an order to vacate the marital home for up to ninety days. This legally requires your former spouse to leave the house and not re-enter it under penalty of law, giving you the freedom to enter and exit safely with your children and your belongings. This type of order can be issued if you feel that your former spouse is a clear and present danger to yourself or your children, whether through their behavior or through threats made toward you.

Is adultery illegal in Massachusetts?

There are few betrayals more shattering than infidelity. If your spouse is guilty of adultery, you may wish to initiate divorce proceedings in Massachusetts courts quickly and without a moment's doubt. You may also wish to pursue damages for emotional harm or other losses caused by the breach of the marital contract, but how far can you pursue these claims when adultery may be immoral, but not exactly illegal?

Except in the state of Massachusetts, adultery actually is illegal. Technically, per state law, both your partner and their paramour can be charged and imprisoned in state prison for up to three years, or fined and sentenced to jail for up to two years. But as satisfying as it may be to punish your spouse's infidelity with a little hard time, will any Massachusetts court actually prosecute him or her for adultery?

Estate planning documents that can keep the family from fighting

Just like planning for retirement is necessary, so is planning for your death or incapacitation. This is where estate planning comes in. While you might think that only the very rich need an estate plan, in realty, people from all walks of life, young or old, need an estate plan.

A complete estate plan does not just cover how you want the estate administrator to distribute your assets. It can also cover things like who you want to make decisions on your behalf if you are in a position where you cannot make decisions for yourself. However, while you are planning for an unknown future, you might be concerned about the behavior of various family members. Fortunately, if you are worried about family infighting if something happens to you, you can include certain documents to keep the fighting to a minimum.

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