PLEASE NOTE: To protect your safety in response to the threats of COVID-19, we are offering our clients the ability to meet with us via telephone or through video conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options. During the Covid-19 our office is opened to serve our clients and their families.
We recognize starting the process can be one of the hardest aspects of divorce. We are here to guide you through the divorce or separation process as painlessly as possible. Divorce is unique because of the different dynamics involved — including age of children, socio-economic status of the parties, and the unpredictable trend in alimony. Our legal team understands that separation from a spouse or your children is devastating and distressing. With more than 101 years of combined experience handling divorce settlements, we advocate for your best interests and help alleviate your burden. Get assistance and peace of mind here.
Legal grounds for divorce in Massachusetts and New Hampshire include:
- NO FAULT (irretrievable breakdown of marriage)
- FAULT grounds include:
- Desertion continued for one year prior to filing a divorce complaint
- Cruel and abusive treatment
- Addiction to drugs or alcohol
Our divorce attorneys handle family matters with sensitivity and confidentiality. Schedule your consultation today.
We recognize this is a difficult time for all family members involved, especially children. Our experienced divorce attorneys can handle the details of your case and expedite the process of divorce. We ask that new divorce clients bring the following paperwork with them to their first meeting with our legal team:
1. Tax returns for the last three years
2. A list of all your assets, including bank account
3. A list of any real estate and mortgages
4. Any safety deposit box information
5. A list of liabilities — who you owe, what you owe them and why.
6. Your certified marriage certificate and the birth certificates of any of your children
7. Information about any medical condition relating to your ability to work
Your family is important, which is why our 24/7 care line, 978-687-1777, is always available for clients to ask questions about their case. You are not alone in your divorce case — contact us, DiFruscia Law Offices, for live help by email, phone, confidential case inquiry form or live web chat.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a divorce?
Divorce is the dissolution of a marriage that terminates all legal rights and responsibilities between parties.
How do I begin the divorce process?
If the divorce is uncontested (“no-fault”):
1. Consult an experienced family law lawyer.
2. Both parties file a joint petition for divorce with a separation agreement and an affidavit of irretrievable breakdown of marriage.
3. The separation agreement must address all aspects of the divorce, including child custody arrangements, support, alimony, marital assets division and liability
If the divorce is contested (based on a “fault” ground listed above):
1. Speak with an experienced family law lawyer.
2. File a complaint outlining the reasons as the basis of the complaint (e.g., adultery).
3. Serve a summons and a copy of the complaint to your spouse.
What is a prenuptial agreement, and how does it affect my divorce case?
A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into between two people planning to get married. The purpose of the agreement is to define what the disposition of their financial assets will be in the event of divorce or death. To be valid, prenuptial agreements must be executed prior to the wedding. It is advised that both parties have legal counsel and there needs to be a full financial disclosure of all assets of the parties. The agreement will ordinarily be enforced if it is executed properly and there is no fraud or duress in its execution.
What if I don’t have a prenuptial agreement?
If you don’t have a prenuptial agreement, then the divorce laws of the state in which you reside will apply to your situation.
What is the difference between a “fault” and “no-fault” divorce?
In a no-fault divorce, the parties have to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably or that the couple has irreconcilable differences. In other words, if one person wants a divorce, the couple will be divorced. In a fault divorce, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant has committed a wrong that allows the plaintiff to get a divorce (see the grounds listed above).
Do I need to hire an attorney to divorce my spouse?
You have a right to represent yourself in a divorce proceeding; however, divorce can be a complicated and intensely emotional process, and you may be putting yourself at a disadvantage. As experienced litigators, our family law attorneys can be a great help to facilitate the process and advocate for your best interests.
Who pays my legal fees?
Usually, each party pays his or her own legal fees and expenses. If your financial circumstances are such that your spouse has sole control of the finances and you are left without access to such funds, then you have a right to file a motion with the court requesting that your spouse release to you a portion of the funds with which you can pay your legal fees during the divorce proceeding. At the end of the divorce, attorney fees may be treated as a liability incurred during the marriage and allocated between the parties as part of the property division.
What is alimony?
Alimony is a legal obligation to pay one’s spouse before or after legal separation or divorce. Factors considered by courts in awarding alimony vary from state to state. Massachusetts divorce law is gender neutral, so alimony payments may be awarded to either party. Unlike child support, which is an ongoing financial payment for the benefit of a child, alimony is awarded as financial compensation directly for the divorced spouse. Child support and alimony are often considered together but are awarded separately.
How does a court determine how much alimony to award to a party?
There is no formula for alimony, so many judges may use their own unique approach. In Massachusetts, alimony is based on a consideration of the following factors:
1. The length of the marriage
2. The conduct of the parties during the marriage
3. The age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income
4. Vocational skills
6. Estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties
7. Opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income
8. Present and future needs of the dependent children of the marriage
9. The contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates
10. The contribution of each party as a homemaker to the family unit
DISCLAIMER: This does not constitute legal advice and nothing herein establishes an attorney-client relationship. Each case is different and unique. Please note that a small fact can change the above-expressed opinions, along with any current changes in the law.