Do you ever feel like you are all alone with your questions about divorce? We assure you, you are not. Every week, we receive phone calls and emails from people who need dependable answers to their serious questions. Every divorce is as unique as the spouses and children involved in the family.
How Long Will My Divorce Take?Remember, "divorce" is actually the final court decree that comes at the end of the legal process. The process actually begins with a legal separation agreement, which requires negotiating a basic framework for the final divorce judgment. If you and your spouse can agree on most issues, the separation agreement may only take a week or two, then add another four to six weeks to get the court date for adjudication (approval) by a judge. The actual divorce decree will be handed down in three or four months after the court date. If you and your spouse cannot agree on custody, support or property issues, however, taking a divorce to trial may take up to two years or longer.
How Much Will My Divorce Cost?While there are some pre-set court costs, the legal fees associated with a divorce can rarely be pre-determined. Each case is unique because the issues that need to be negotiated and settled are unique. Divorce is not a product or service we offer. It is a legal process. During your initial consultation, your attorney will explain court and legal costs, attorneys' fees and their billing practices.
Will I Lose Access To My Children?In Massachusetts, the courts expect both parents to share in the responsibility of raising their children. Custody does NOT mean ownership and the noncustodial parent will generally be granted every opportunity for parenting rights. If the court determines there are unusual circumstances concerning the children's safety and well-being during the separation period, both parents may be subject to a review by Child Protection Services, to determine whether the children should be placed under the protection of a guardian ad litem.
What About Spousal Support?Alimony or spousal support in Massachusetts is awarded only under very specific circumstances. The dollar amount, duration and conditions of payment will be determined over the course of the divorce process. Permanent spousal maintenance is generally only awarded in cases of a long-term marriage in which one spouse was out of the job market and will be left at a severe financial disadvantage after the divorce. In cases of marriages lasting less than 10 years, temporary alimony may be awarded to assist a disadvantaged spouse during job training, college education or until employment.