How does the court know my Financial information?
Supplemental Probate Court Rule 401 provides that, within 45 days after the date of service of the Summons, each party must serve on the other party a complete and accurate financial statement showing, insofar as possible, the assets, liabilities and current income and expenses of both parties and children involved in the case. The form of the financial statement which each party must complete is dependent upon his or her income. A party whose income equal or exceeds $75,000.00 must complete the long form financial statement. A party whose income is less than $75,000.00 must complete the short form financial statement. In the event a hearing on a motion for temporary orders or a pretrial conference is scheduled, financial statements by both parties shall be filed with the court and exchanged between the parties no later than two (2) business days prior to the hearing or the conference without the necessity of a request for such statements.
How is Child Support determined?
Child Support is paid by the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the support of the children. Child Support is calculated using a formula called the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. The formula is presumptive, and Judges can only vary from the formula in specific circumstances. You should consult an attorney to discuss what facts in your case might warrant a variation from the formula.
How is Spousal Support (Alimony) determined?
Alimony, also called spousal support, is paid by the wage-earning spouse (the spouse who has traditionally earned the majority of the income during the marriage) to the non-wage-earning spouse to allow the non-wage-earning spouse to continue to live in the lifestyle to which he or she has become accustomed during the marriage assuming their is enough income to do so. There is not currently any formula enacted or endorsed by the Massachusetts Legislature or the Courts for the calculation of alimony. The amount of alimony is dependent on the consideration of all of the factors described in M.G.L. c. 208 Section 34. You should consult an attorney to discuss how the facts in your case fit the factors of Section 34.
How is property division determined?
There is not currently any division required by the Massachusetts Legislature or the Courts for the division of assets. The amount each spouse receives is dependent on the consideration of all of the factors described in M.G.L. c. 208 Section 34. You should consult an attorney to discuss how the facts in your case fit the factors of Section 34. These factors include the age of the parties, health of the parties, length of the marriage, source of the assets and liabilities, employability of the parties, etc. Generally the division is described as equitable rather than equal. This means that although a Judge may start with a 50/50 division the final division will be dependent on how all these factors add up.
Are there limitations on my finances during the divorce?
Upon the service of the Complaint and Summons the parties are restrained by Rule 411. Generally Rule 411 prohibits either party from a. selling, hiding, encumbering or disposing of any personal property or real property in which either of you have an interest (except for in the case of specific exceptions), b. incurring any further debt that would burden the credit of the other spouse (such as making charges on joint credit cards), c. changing the beneficiary designation on any life insurance policy, pension or investment accounts, or d. doing anything that changes your spouse or your children's coverage under medical, dental, life, automobile or disability insurance. There are exceptions to Rule 411 which you should discuss with your attorney.