Category Archives: Property Division

Home Alone – Should You Really Keep the House After Your Massachusetts Divorce?

By Massachusetts divorce lawyer and mediator Stephen McDonough of  The Divorce Collaborative The marital home is oftentimes a couple’s largest financial asset. Unfortunately, home values remain depressed and your real estate is also probably your largest expense. Part of property settlement discussions surrounding a divorce whether you are in divorce mediation or having a litigated, court-based case, involves whether one spouse or the other – or neither – should stay in the house.  Before agreeing to take over the house, also known as the marital home, do your homework and consider these  helpful pointers: First, check your credit score.  It’s […]

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Pets and Your Massachusetts Divorce

By Colleen Cunnally, Esq. – Divorce Lawyer and Mediator at The Divorce Collaborative Thanksgiving is over and now it’s time for Christmas!  My house is decorated and it’s time to start my Christmas shopping.  The usual suspects on my list include the hubby, my siblings, the nephews and nieces and last but not least my beloved DOG!  Yes, the dog gets her own stocking and assorted Christmas presents.  She even gets presents from her “cousins” Oreo and Angus. I admit, my family is a little dog crazy. Our dog obsession is not unusual.  I recently read Americans spend 50 BILLION dollars […]

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Divorce and Real Estate in the Bedford, MA Area

By Bedford and Franklin, MA divorce attorney and mediator Stephen McDonough of The Divorce Collaborative.  Stephen is also a licensed Massachusetts real estate broker. Divorce oftentimes involves the sale and/or purchase of real estate.   Our friend and realtor Suzanne Koller, owner of Suzanne & Company, Keller Williams Realty, reports the market is definitely improved this spring in Bedford and surrounding towns such as Concord, Carlisle, and Lexington. In fact, multiple offers are not uncommon this spring for houses in good condition and in desirable communities in the metro-west Boston area.  Suzanne has an informative website and definitely has the pulse of Bedford […]

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Massachusetts Divorce – Handling Joint Debts

Thanks to our great economy, dealing with debt is a bigger part of divorce cases.  More then ever before, divorcing clients are facing short sales or foreclosure of real estate, bankruptcy, and significant debt load. During a Massachusetts divorce, what are some of the issues you should consider surrounding joint liabilities?  There are many variables to consider, so remember this is just general information.  Debts and liabilities fall under the larger umbrella of property distribution. Savvy readers of our website know that property division in Massachusetts must be…..?   Anyone?   Anyone? Answer:  Equitable!   Or fair.  But not necessarily […]

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Everybody Wants Some! Social Security & Divorce in Massachusetts

Like most government assistance programs, Social Security is confusing, especially when it comes to the topic of divorce.  In hopes of clearing up some of that confusion, here are some common questions and answers frequently asked by our Massachusetts divorce clients – with some classic 80s and 90s tunes thrown in for no particular reason.  Remember that Social Security is a federal system, and is thus regulated by federal statutes.   Your divorce agreement cannot alter the federal regulations. Q:  I stayed home with the kids while my spouse was able to work and pay into Social Security for years. […]

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Massachusetts Divorce – Does Infidelity Really Matter?

The realization that your spouse was unfaithful during your marriage is upsetting, even life-altering to some. Reactions upon learning of a spouse’s affair vary, but include feelings of sadness, betrayal, shock, anger and an intense desire to listen to country music. Some couples are unable to overcome the damage caused by an affair, with divorce oftentimes the unfortunate result.  Although infidelity is certainly problematic, it is usually a sign of other troubles in a relationship.  If you are facing a Massachusetts divorce and marital infidelity is an issue, you are likely wondering… What effect does an affair have on my […]

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Prenuptial Agreements: Why a Prenup Might be Right for You. By Carolyn Blake Dibbert, Esq.

Prenuptial agreements are becoming more and more common for couples entering marriage. Here are a few candidate groups who are gravitating towards prenups most often.

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Valuation Issues Surrounding Professional Practices at Divorce

When a divorcing spouse owns a business, several  factors must be examined as part of the distribution of the marital estate.  The type of business entity in question will obviously play a major role in how the business asset will be valued. One type of business that provides special challenges to an appraiser and the attorneys on the case is a professional practice, such as a medical practice or law firm. A professional practice is considered by the court (at least here in Massachusetts) as subject to division as part of the marital estate during the divorce process. See Goldman […]

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Social Security and Divorce

I have received couple of questions on how divorce may affect social security benefits over the past week, so I thought a post on this topic might be helpful. First, a good point to remember is that social security is a federal system, and is thus controlled by federal regulations.   Social Security benefits cannot be bargained like other assets or retirement accounts since the receipt of social security benefits, how they are paid, and to whom are all controlled by federal law.   This is why you don’t see sections on social security benefits in divorce agreements. A divorced […]

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Retirement Plans – Defined Benefit vs. Defined Contribution

An important part of a divorce case is identifying and dividing up a couple’s marital property.  Within the marital estate, retirement plans frequently are one of the most valuable asset classes.   A qualified retirement plan is one that satisfies numerous requirements set forth by the IRS and ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income and Security Act of  1974.  Qualified plans take advantage of a number of tax benefits.  The two main categories of qualified plans are the defined contribution plan and the defined benefit plan.

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