Massachusetts residents who are either under an order to pay alimony or who receive it from their former spouses through court order or agreement need to be aware of how alimony is treated under federal income tax law. The IRS allows those who pay alimony to deduct the payments, while requiring those who receive it to report the amounts as income.
Massachusetts parents and grandparents interested in custody issues may wish to know more about how courts and state laws address grandparent visitation. When there is a dispute over visitation rights, state law may require unique circumstances in order to go against a parent's wishes.
For residents of Massachusetts and other parts of the country, divorce and remarriage can have an impact on their rights to their ex-spouse's Social Security benefits. The United States Social Security Administration allows ex-spouses to collect Social Security and survivor benefits only under certain conditions. They have to have been married for at least 10 years and must remain single to keep receiving spousal benefits.
Social Security income is usually safe from garnishment for debts such as credit cards or other unpaid personal debts. However, for those who owe back child support in Massachusetts and most other states, certain types of Social Security income can be garnished to repay this type of debt.
Even though Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate in the nation, it is worth taking note of the factors that can influence the likelihood of divorce for any couple. A recent study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior found that divorce was 6 percent more likely for couples in which the wife had a serious illness. When the ill spouse was the husband, on the other hand, the chance of divorce did not increase.
Massachusetts parents may be interested to learn that of the $14.3 billion in unpaid child support in 2011, 32 percent of custodial fathers failed to receive any of the child support they had been awarded versus 25 percent of custodial mothers. The assertion, backed by information from the U.S. Census Bureau, suggests that common beliefs about child support and who does and does not pay may be in error.
People in Massachusetts might be interested in a recently-published study that shows that doctors are less likely to divorce than are other workers both in the health care industry and in other professions. This result may be somewhat surprising to some, given the stereotype long held by many that a doctor's long hours and associated work stress would lead to a higher rate of divorce.
A divorce in Massachusetts can be stressful, but when parents can work together, a child's best interests may be met with minimal court time. There are many out-of-court approaches to consider in reaching a parenting agreement. A judge may still be required to review the final plan to evaluate whether a child's best interests have been considered, but legal fees and stress can be minimized by handling the negotiation of the agreement in a more informal setting.
Massachusetts couples contemplating divorce may know that a spouse might gather evidence he or she may use during divorce litigation. Aside from claims that marriage vows were broken, evidence may be focused on claims a spouse may make for receiving alimony or being unable to pay it. Likewise, when asset division takes place, it is dependent on the financial statements each spouse may be obligated to turn into the court. Proving that a spouse is not being truthful may require presenting evidence to the contrary.
Divorces in Massachusetts could last months or even longer than a year while a couple tries to work out an arrangement for post-marital life. The process can also drag on when a couple must go to court for a judge to make determinations regarding child custody, alimony or property division. While dissolving a marriage can have high financial costs, there are ways to make divorce less expensive.