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Stephen F. McDonough
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Stephen McDonough’s Answers

23 total

  • Mutual divorce requirements/paper work in Massachusetts

    1. What is the process to divorce mutually if the divorce case is filed in Boston, Massachusetts? 2. What is the links to the forms that need to be signed to make the divorce process official? 3. Once the forms are downloaded/signed by both part...

    Stephen’s Answer

    The other answers provide good information, but I wanted to add that you will want to proceed with caution when it comes to using any pre-printed Separation Agreement form, even a form provided by the court. Yes, you can use it, but it is very bare bones and requires the parties to provide many of the details. You and your spouse may not know what to include, etc. If your separation agreement lacks the proper info, chances are the judge will not approve it. Another option for you to consider, and to keep costs down, is for you to both meet with divorce mediator that is also a lawyer. The mediator can work with you both and help with the paperwork, including the drafting of your separation agreement. Remember that a lawyer cannot represent both sides, but a mediator can work with you and your spouse as a neutral professional.

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  • My husband bought a multifamily house on his brother`s name 3 months ago because of bad credit history. Now we are going through

    Divorce and he said that the court won't know that the property is ours. We live in one of the apt. And 3 other are leased. They (him&his brother) even changed his address because we receive mail on his name, just to look like he is living in his ...

    Stephen’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    In addition to the other answers, if you are not able to obtain your own lawyer, you can write a sworn statement (usually in the form of a numbered list) called an Affidavit, and set forth the information that you know about the property as this could be helpful given the circumstances.

    Also, the probate and family courts through the local bar associations, have a "Lawyer of the Day" program where you can go to the court and get some guidance. It is not a replacement for having your own lawyer throughout the case, but still may be helpful for you.

    Most family law lawyers practice in a number of counties. The law is the same throughout Massachusetts, so when searching for a lawyer find one that seems to be realistic and that you find trustworthy, etc. Even if Worcester County is not the court they practice in the most, I think this is less important, but consider that you will likely have to travel to the lawyer's office a few times most likely.

    Finally, it is difficult to give you an estimate of what your legal fees might be because of the variables and the limited info provided. If you have a consultation with a lawyer, he or she should be able to provide you with a an estimated range. Some lawyers provide free consultations, but many experienced attorneys also charge for consults. Just because a consultation is free, does not mean that is the best choice for you, unless that is your only option.

    Good luck with your case, and try to avoid a custody battle if possible.

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  • Is this considered child neglect in a divorce case ?

    My child has been living with me since birth , I take him to his doctors appointments, early head start, and his therapy appointments , i also make sure his medications are up to date . He is now 2 years old , when he was an infant he had very bad...

    Stephen’s Answer

    Hello:

    I agree with the other two lawyers that responded to your question. Since your son's doctor directed the medication, and you followed his or her advice, then I do not see how this could be considered neglect. If you are not sure if the benadryl is a good thing for your son, you could also get a 2nd opinion if that medication is still being used. If the father is really concerned, of course he could contact the child's physician himself to inquire about the child's ongoing allergies. I would also suggest that you maintain a copy of the doctor's note about the medication so you have it readily available in case you have to go to court on any parenting issues, etc. Take care.

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  • I received a settlement in a medical malpractice case, can my wife claim any of it, we just started divorce proceedings.

    She is filling in Massachusetts I live in California

    Stephen’s Answer

    When it comes to the dividing property at the time of your Massachusetts divorce, the short answer is that all property is subject to division, no matter the source or origin of the property. On top of that, there are many factors a judge will consider to make an equitable division of all property and debts if the parties are unable to agree.

    Remember that equitable means fair, not equal. An equal division may be fair, but not always. I attached a link below to the MA statute c. 208 sect. 34 that sets forth the factors the court will consider:

    Hope this helps, and you should meet with an experienced divorce attorney or a mediator if your spouse will agree, for more information.

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  • My ex wife has taken all equity out of our house.making her unable to pay me what i put in. what can i do?? what am i entitledto

    ex wife took ALL equity out of the house,making her unable to buy me out, for my half of what we bought it for, which we agreed during our divorce. what can i do , how can i recoup this money. house is worth 68,000,and have ten years, she owes 68,...

    Stephen’s Answer

    As mentioned in attorney Buckley's answer, your ex may have violated the terms of your separation agreement. I suggest you take your agreement to a divorce/family law attorney and go over the language in the agreement regarding the house with a lawyer. Hopefully, your agreement was drafted carefully regarding the disposition of the real estate. If the agreement (or the court's order) was violated by your ex, then normally your lawyer would file a Complaint for Contempt. I would not wait to take action on this.

    If you are unable to hire a lawyer, then you can file a contempt complaint by yourself as another option.

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  • Splitting retirement monies when divorcing.

    How does this work? Who does the actual splitting and transferring of the money. When the divorce / settlement is reached who decides on the exact numbers and dates by which these funds need to be transferred?

    Stephen’s Answer

    Hello:

    Just to add a couple of points to the good answers provided by the other attorneys, you may not need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order for every type of retirement account. For instance, IRAs don't need a QDRO to be divided. Also, your Separation Agreement is actually accessible to others through the court, but your required court financial statement is kept private. Many times in a separation agreement the actual values are not included, but the agreement will reference the court financial statement that would include the values.

    There is more to dividing the marital estate than meets the (untrained) eye. My colleagues are correct that you should really try and hire an attorney if possible, even if on a limited basis. You really only get one shot at getting the property division done the right way!

    Best of luck to you going forward.

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  • I am going through a Divorce, The ex wife lied and got caught lieing to the police.

    Ex went down to police and told them a lie, The police requested the court to issue an arresst warrant the court sent the police report back as unwarranted. I filed charges and we went to a probable cause heari.ng where it was found she did commit...

    Stephen’s Answer

    As Attorney Lewis mentioned, it is unfortunate that you are having such a stressful divorce. Although I have no way of knowing your financial situation, you may want to consider contacting a legal services agency in Massachusetts if you are not able to hire a lawyer. You could also consider hiring a lawyer for limited parts of your case. Given the facts you mentioned above, it seems like a difficult situation to handle on your own.

    The perjury charge will likely impact her credibility with the court and her conduct is certainly important when considering custody and parenting issues.

    Hope things work out for you and the children.

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  • Massachusetts - Providing tax returns to my ex-wife annually. Is that the law?

    My wife and I are getting divorced and she stated in the terms that for child support the state guidelines require me to provide tax returns every year. Is this true and where can I find it? And can I see *her* tax returns then? Also, does thi...

    Stephen’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Hello:
    The child support guidelines can be found here if you want to take a look at them: http://www.mass.gov/courts/childsupport/guidelines.pdf

    The guidelines do not require an exchange of tax returns, but if you agreed to provide your tax returns in your divorce agreement, then you should follow the terms that you agreed to, or you could be in contempt of the agreement. As explained in the other answer, child support can be modified, but the courts generally discourage parents to come back to court if there is only a slight change in income. Generally, a 20% difference is considered to be a significant change that could result in a change in child support, BUT both parent's incomes, along with health insurance and daycare costs will also be considered. Your ex (or Mom) will also need to complete the required court financial statement, and attach a paystub and a W2 and/or 1099 for the previous year.

    Although the child support guidelines may seem straightforward, the devil is in the details. For example, some people may not be working to capacity or perhaps have some unreported income. Using a divorce or family lawyer can help you with the details and alert you to issues you may not have considered, etc.

    Hope that helps. My firm has additional info that you may find helpful on our website: www.divorcecollaborative.com

    Take care!

    Stephen

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  • If I divorse my wife will I have to pay half her credit card bills?

    she has run up some high bills and say they are half mine.

    Stephen’s Answer

    Hello:

    This question cannot be answered without more info. If the debt was personal to your spouse, as opposed to purchases that benefited the household or any children, then oftentimes the person incurring such debt would be responsible for it.

    This type of issue is something that is normally negotiated as part of the property division during divorce. The other component with this issue is that if bills are not paid, and the debt was joint, then creditors can look to both parties for payment.

    Hope things go smoothly for you.

    Stephen McDonough, Esq.
    www.divorcecollaborative.com

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  • Is adultery a crime in Massachusetts?

    Pending divorce.

    Stephen’s Answer

    Andrew's answer is correct, but I am wondering if the legality of adultery is really your issue? If you are contemplating divorce, then some people try to make a big issue out of infidelity. Of course, this is an unfortunate situation that can add to the emotions of a case, but conduct issues such as this are frequently not that major of an issue in divorce cases in MA.

    Exceptions, of course, exist. If one spouse wastes considerable assets on a new significant other then the other party could seek some adjustments to compensate for the spending of the marital assets.

    Hope this helps.

    Steve McDonough, Esq.
    divorcecollaborative.com
    Medway/Attleboro MA

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