Divorce Lawyer, Worcester, MA
Get Help from a MA Divorce Lawyer
Divorce is an understandably difficult and complicated process, requiring strict attention to detail at a time when the emotional stakes are high. It’s because of these situations that an attorney can be an invaluable asset by making navigating the murky depths of divorce proceedings easier to understand. Attorney Michael T. Gaffney has extensive experience dealing with divorce cases, making sure that solutions are fair, and that you are well represented.
In amicable cases, it is advised that couples file a Joint Petition. Limiting costs and emotional burden, Joint Petitions are often seen as the simplest solutions for couples who are in agreement over moving forward. In more contentious cases, there are a multitude of options that can be discussed to find specific solutions to suit your situation. When you come in for your free consultation with, Attorney Gaffney, your specific situation will be heard allowing for a more responsive and effective process.
Joint Petition Divorce
The least complex process for divorce, Joint Petition filing can reduce the emotional and legal trouble that divorce can bring at the outset. Joint Petition allows for couples in agreement to avoid a contentious process by helping to come to an agreement regarding custody, visitation, child support, health insurance, and the division of all real and personal property. After the appropriate documents are filed and processed, the agreement is given to the court and an uncontested hearing date is set, generally in 30–45 days. There, parties affirm the agreement and a Judgment of Divorce is then entered. 90 days later, in a waiting period named the Nisi Period, a Divorce Absolute is entered and the marriage is dissolved.
When an agreement cannot be reached between the couples, a Complaint for Divorce may be filed either for cause or under the “no fault” statute. The complaint is filed and processed with the court, where it is served upon the spouse. If there is a need to establish custody, visitation, child support, health insurance, or other immediate needs, a Motion for Temporary Orders can be submitted. A “no fault” divorce is given a six-month waiting period before an application for an uncontested trial can be made. During this time, the parties are expected to complete the discovery process—a formal fact-finding process concerning finances, employment, parental abilities, and other aspects of the home—attend a parenting class, and meet to narrow down the issues for trial. The court will advance the matter for a pretrial hearing where the judge and their staff will try to mediate the complications involved to try to resolve the divorce. If unsuccessful, a trial date is set leaving the case to be ruled upon by a judge.
If you aren’t married to your partner, your attorney can still help you establish paternity, custody, and/or child support. Once you’ve made an initial filing and it’s been served to the other party, your attorney can make a Motion for Temporary Orders. This will address child support, custody, visitation, health insurance, paternity, and any other pressing needs. Keep in mind that the other party can challenge, or contest, any filing. However, if the other party challenges a paternity filing and is found to be the parent, that party will be responsible for paying for paternity testing.
Once both parties have made their initial filings, the judge and judge’s staff will look at information from both parties and attempt to reach an agreement in a mediation setting. If the issue can’t be resolved by the time of a pretrial hearing, the judge will set a trial date to hear evidence from both sides. Remember that, wherever their children are concerned, the rights of nonmarital partners are the same as the rights of marital partners.
Child Support Modifications
There are several reasons to file for modifications to a Child Support Order. As children age, their needs change as well. A change in the financial circumstances of one or both partners can also warrant a modification of orders. Bear in mind that modifications to child support can be made once the child reaches thirteen years of age, if there is a change in income of more than 20%, or if the current order is more than three years old. Modifications can be used to either increase or decrease support. You may also need to ask for a modification of orders if custody, visitation, or parenting time has changed substantially since your last support order.
Child Support Modifications Concerning College
Child support obligations do not necessarily end once a child turns eighteen. If the child will be attending college, a judge can choose to modify the order so that support for the child and the child’s education continues. These types of modifications are particularly important if one parent is shouldering the majority of the financial burden or is housing a child attending college.
How can I move forward with my divorce?
Beginning with a consultation is an integral part of moving forward because it establishes a connection and a specific course of action to move forward. The consultation process is how Attorney Michael T. Gaffney ensures that all of his clients are represented fairly, and with the protection necessary for the inherent complexity of divorce cases. With this consultation, Attorney Gaffney can begin to formulate a course of action that is responsive to your situation—easing the process of divorce at the legal level.