WILL MY CHILDREN BLAME ME?

Dear Hindell,

I’ve been in an unhappy marriage for a long time and only thing stopping me from filing for a divorce is the fear that my children will blame me. Do you have any advice?

Sincerely,
Hoping for Happiness

Every child responds to divorce differently: some will be angry at one parent or another; some overwhelmingly sad; others depressed; perhaps guilty; or blaming; and most will suffer all emotions at different times. It is important that neither parent speaks badly about the other and that the children are shielded from the conflict between the parents. Unfortunately, it is not easy to control what you child hears about your divorce, but if you pay close attention you can recognize the mood changes and behavioral reactions to determine your course of action. Be factual and comforting when you respond, but without compromising your rules of discipline, the child’s needs, and your goals.

Here are some interesting films which address divorce issues:
• A.C.O.D. (the story of a grown man still caught in the crossfire of his parents 15 year divorce)
• Pasadena (the story of a dysfunctional family, post- divorce)
• Kramer vs. Kramer (the story of a custody battle)
• War of the Roses (the story of a bitter divorce battle)
• SPLIT (a documentary that gives us the children’s perspective on divorce… no adults, no experts… just kids speaking the powerful truth of what is on their minds and in their hearts)

Hindell S. Grossman, Esq.
Grossman & Associates, Ltd.
(617) 969-0069

WHAT IS COLLABORATIVE LAW?

Dear Hindell,

A friend of mine told me he is using a collaborative law approach for his divorce. What does that mean? I am also in the process of a divorce, would this be right for me?

Sincerely,

Curious on the Cape

In Collaborative Law cases a group of trained professionals, made up of two lawyers, a collaborative coach, a financial professional and a child specialist, work together to reach an out-of-court settlement. This approach aims to minimize the emotional harm to children and spouses while maximizing the assets available for distribution. To learn more about Collaborative Law go to MassCLC.org

Hindell S. Grossman, Esq.
Grossman & Associates, Ltd.
(617) 969-0069

WHAT IF WE LIVE IN DIFFERENT STATES?

Dear Hindell,
My spouse and I no longer live in the same state? Can we still get a divorce?
Sincerely,
Seriously Separated

Yes. However, there needs to be both subject matter and personal jurisdiction over the case in order for the judge to divorce you in Massachusetts. In general, this means that one party must have lived in Massachusetts for at least one year, or both parties have lived here together. You don’t need to have been married in Massachusetts to be divorced here.

Hindell S. Grossman, Esq.
Grossman & Associates, Ltd.
(617) 969-0069

IS THERE SUCH A THING AS A QUICK DIVORCE?

Dear Hindell,

My spouse and I both mutually want a divorce and we are in complete agreement on the terms. Is there a quick way to be divorced?

Sincerely,
Ready to Move On

Yes. There is a process called a Joint Petition in which you can proceed quickly with an uncontested divorce. Several documents are required, including:

1. Separation Agreement which outlines all the financial terms as well as custody and parenting plans which will govern after your divorce;
2. Original Marriage Certificate;
3. Signed Financial Statements from each of you on the Court forms;
4. Affidavits explaining the reason for the divorce;
5. Statistical Form;
6. Care and Custody Form.

It is important to consult with an attorney to make sure these documents are in compliance, as there are some very specific legal provisions required. Although one attorney cannot represent both sides in an uncontested divorce, one attorney can draft the Separation Agreement for the other party’s review. Different counties have different processes and timelines for getting your uncontested paperwork before a judge for approval.

Hindell S. Grossman, Esq.
Grossman & Associates, Ltd.
(617) 969-0069

WHAT DOES DIVORCE MEAN FOR A STAY-AT-HOME PARENT?

Dear Hindell,

I’ve been a stay-at-home parent for the past few years. I am ready to end my marriage but I’m nervous about filing for divorce because I don’t have my own source of income. Am I likely to receive support from my spouse?

Sincerely,

A Hardworking Homemaker

If there are children of the marriage you will likely be awarded child support and may also be entitled to alimony if the gross household income exceeds $250,000. Depending on the age of the children, the judge can attribute some income to you even though they are not actually earning any income. The amount attributed depends on education, work experience how long the parent has been out of the work force, the age and needs of the children.

Hindell S. Grossman, Esq.
Grossman & Associates, Ltd.
(617) 969-0069

HOW WILL MY SPOUSE REACT?

Dear Hindell,

I am scared of how my spouse will react when I file for divorce. What can I do?

Sincerely,
Nervous in Newton

If you are in “fear of imminent bodily harm” you can request a restraining order to keep your spouse away from you and keep you safe. If you do not meet the necessary standard for a restraining order, then seek a remedy from the court, such as an order to have your spouse vacant the marital home.

Hindell S. Grossman, Esq.
Grossman & Associates, Ltd.
(617) 969-0069

CAN THE COURT ORDER MY SPOUSE TO SUPPORT ME AND MY CHILDREN?

Dear Hindell,

My spouse has threatened not to support me and my children if I file for a divorce. Can the court order my spouse to do this?

Sincerely,
Stressing out in Cambridge

The court has the authority to order a parent to support his or her children and will use Child Support Guidelines to determine the amount. If there are children alimony may also be ordered if the combined income of both spouses exceeds $250,000. If there are no children, there will not be child support, but there may be alimony, depending on a variety of factors. The new Child Support Guidelines effective August 1, 2013 are helpful in identifying how to calculate both child support and alimony.

Hindell S. Grossman, Esq.
Grossman & Associates, Ltd.
(617) 969-0069