Divorce is a challenging transition, often marked by emotional upheaval, significant life changes, and complex legal proceedings. Navigating this process requires compassionate representation and informed guidance. That’s where LaFountain & Wollman, P.C. steps in.

Our experienced divorce attorneys provide personalized solutions to clients throughout Massachusetts, working to achieve the best possible outcome. When you become our client, you can move on to the next chapter with confidence. Call us today to get started.

Understanding Divorce in Massachusetts

Massachusetts divorce laws ensure fair and equitable outcomes for both parties. Moreover, state law provides for both fault and no-fault divorces, allowing couples to choose the grounds that best fit their situation. In a fault divorce, one party must prove the other party engaged in wrongdoing (e.g., adultery, abandonment, abuse). By contrast, in a no-fault divorce, the couple agrees that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.

At LaFountain & Wollman, we are adept at navigating these legal nuances and will work to help you resolve the key issues in a divorce including: 

Division of Property

When it comes to dividing assets and debts in a divorce, the law seeks an equitable, but not necessarily equal, distribution. This means that the court considers several factors, including;

  • The length of the marriage
  • The conduct of the parties during the marriage,
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition and appreciation of marital property. 

Notably, retirement accounts, real estate, and personal property all come under scrutiny during this process. 

Support Payments

Another critical aspect of divorce involves alimony and child support. Alimony, or spousal support, is not guaranteed in every case and is determined based on the receiving spouse’s need and the paying spouse’s ability to pay. Child support, on the other hand, is calculated based on state guidelines that consider the income of both parents and the needs of the children.

Child Custody and Parenting Time 

These are among the most sensitive aspects of a divorce, requiring careful consideration of the children’s best interests. The state distinguishes between physical custody, which pertains to where the children live, and legal custody, involving decisions about the children’s education, health, and welfare. 

The courts generally favor joint custody arrangements, encouraging both parents to remain active in their children’s lives. However, the specifics of each case, such as the parents’ relationship with the children, their ability to provide stable environments, and any history of abuse or neglect, significantly influence the court’s decision.

Parenting time, also known as visitation, is another crucial element in child custody arrangements. This schedule outlines when and how the noncustodial parent will spend time with the children, ensuring that both parents maintain a meaningful relationship with their children post-divorce. The courts encourage parents to create a parenting plan that suits the family’s unique needs and circumstances. 

Navigating the Divorce Process in Massachusetts

Though the divorce process can seem daunting, you can trust LaFountain & Wollman to guide you through every stage, from filing the initial paperwork to finalizing the divorce decree. Our command of Massachusetts divorce law ensures that each step is handled with precision and care, keeping your best interests at the forefront:

  • Filing for divorce – The divorce process begins with filing a Complaint for Divorce in the appropriate court. This document outlines the grounds for divorce and any initial requests regarding assets, custody, or support. Once filed, these documents must be legally served to the other spouse, marking the formal start of the divorce proceedings. Our experienced team assists in preparing and filing all necessary paperwork, ensuring compliance with state laws and court procedures.
  • Negotiation and settlement discussions – This phase involves negotiations between the parties, often facilitated by their attorneys. This stage focuses on deciding on asset division, child custody, and alimony. LaFountain & Wollman will advocate for you during these discussions, aiming for a settlement that aligns with your goals and legal rights while avoiding the uncertainties of a trial.
  • Finalizing the divorce – The final step in the divorce process is the court’s approval of the divorce agreement and issuance of a divorce decree. If the parties reach an agreement, the process can be more streamlined. However, if a trial is necessary, our skilled attorneys are prepared to represent you vigorously in court, fighting to secure a final decree that reflects your best interests.

You can depend on our divorce attorneys to help you navigate this challenging time and stand by you every step of the way.

What is the fastest way to get a divorce in Massachusetts?

As a family law attorney in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, the fastest way to get a divorce here is through an uncontested no-fault 1A divorce. This option applies if:

  • Both parties agree on all aspects of the divorce, including child custody, child support, spousal support, and division of assets and debts.
  • You have been living in Massachusetts for at least one year before filing

How long do you have to be separated before divorce in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, the separation period required before filing for divorce depends on the grounds for divorce you choose:

1. No-fault divorce based on separation: This is the most common option for couples in Massachusetts. To qualify, you and your spouse must be separated for at least 18 months with no cohabitation and no intention of reconciling.

It’s important to note that separation doesn’t necessarily mean living in separate residences. Courts will consider factors like maintaining separate bedrooms, finances, and social lives to determine if a true separation exists.

2. Fault-based divorce: This option involves filing for divorce based on specific grounds like adultery, cruelty, or desertion. In these cases, the separation period is not mandatory. However, the specific grounds you choose will have their own requirements and timelines.

Additionally, remember that Massachusetts also has a one-year residency requirement: You must have lived in the state for at least 12 consecutive months before filing for divorce, regardless of the chosen ground.

It’s crucial to consult with an attorney to discuss your specific situation and determine the best path forward.

Are divorce records public in MA?

In Massachusetts, almost all divorce records are considered public records, meaning anyone can access them for inspection. These records, sometimes referred to as divorce dockets, case files, or decrees, are generally open to the public.

However, there are a few exceptions:

  • Financial information: Specific details within a separation agreement, going beyond basic information in the decree, are generally not accessible to the public. Only parties involved in the divorce, their lawyers, or other designated legal representatives can access this information.
  • Impounded records: In rare cases, the court may order specific records to be sealed, making them inaccessible to the public. These “impounded” records are only accessible by the parties named on the divorce petition or their legal representatives.

How LaFountain & Wollman Can Help

Navigating a divorce is a complex and emotionally charged journey – having informed legal counsel and support can make all the difference. At LaFountain & Wollman, we are committed to providing comprehensive assistance and guidance tailored to your specific needs. Knowing that every divorce is unique, we approach each case with a personalized strategy. Whether you are facing a contested divorce with complex financial issues or seeking an amicable separation, our team tailors our approach to match your goals and priorities.

Our skilled negotiators will work tirelessly to reach favorable agreements that protect your rights and interests, striving for amicable solutions when possible. If negotiation does not yield the desired results, our attorneys will represent you vigorously in court. Our proven track record of dedicated advocacy means your case is in good hands, in and out of the courtroom.

More than anything, we understand the emotional toll that divorce can take on individuals and families. Our team will offer compassionate support and guidance throughout the process, providing a steady hand to help you navigate the challenges and uncertainties. When you choose LaFountain & Wollman, we will work tirelessly to protect your rights, secure your future, and provide the support you need during this challenging transition.

Contact Our Experienced Middlesex County Divorce Attorney

If you are facing a marital breakup, turn to LaFountain & Wollman, the trusted choice in matrimonial law. Call today for a confidential consultation. 

Helping clients in Middlesex County, Norfolk County, Suffolk County, and Essex County.