Divorce, Separation & Modification
If you are facing a divorce or separation, or contemplating filing for divorce, you may feel as if you are living, each day, on an emotional roller coaster. You may feel overwhelmed with worry and anxiety about the future and confused about finances, support issues, your children, and whether you can remain in your home during the divorce process, as well as many questions and concerns. You are not alone, in your feelings. You have options and choices!
Attorney Karen D. Lane can provide you with sound, intelligent answers and clear explanations to your questions and concerns. By listening to you and answering your questions, she can provide you with expert legal advice and explain your legal rights, options, and choices based on your unique family situation, guiding you step-by-step through the divorce process. Since each family’s financial and domestic issues are unique to them, Attorney Lane will represent you as if you were her only client. She will zealously advocate for you and provide expert and affordable legal representation and options tailored to meet you and your family needs.
If you are facing a divorce or considering a divorce, please call attorney Karen D. Lane at 508-655-5513 or contact her online today to schedule your free initial consultation. During your initial discussion, you will learn more about how attorney Karen D. Lane can help protect your legal rights and provide you with the best choices and options for your future and your family’s future.
Family Law attorney Karen D. Lane’s office is located in the town of Sherborn, which is centrally located in Middlesex County, 3.3 miles directly south of the Mass Pike, on the Natick/Framingham town lines. She represents family law clients throughout metro-suburban Boston in Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Worcester, and Essex counties. Attorney Lane, understanding that her clients, live busy and stressful lives, especially those with children, maintains evening office hours, by appointment only.
Click the topics below for additional details about Attorney Karen Lane’s specific areas of practice related to divorce and separation.
In Massachusetts, an uncontested divorce is when both spouses agree to jointly file a “no fault” divorce. This includes an Affidavit of Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage as well as a notarized Separation Agreement.
A contested divorce is when only one spouse may want a divorce or there are issues that the parties disagree upon. In Massachusetts you can file for a contested divorce if you have lived in Massachusetts for a year, or you and your spouse lived together as a married couple in Massachusetts and the grounds for divorce occurred in Massachusetts. Even if your spouse lives in another state, or you do not know where your spouse is currently living, you can file for divorce if either of you have lived in Massachusetts for a year or you live together as a couple in Massachusetts and the grounds for divorce occurred in Massachusetts. If you file separately, you file a Complaint for Divorce and your spouse is served with a Domestic Relations Summons.
There is no such thing as a legal separation in Massachusetts. A couple may separate and live apart from one another and one or both of the parties may file in the Probate and Family Court a Complaint for Support, Child Support, Child Custody, and Visitation, which will be entered as an Order of the Court. However, they cannot receive a legal Separation.
Temporary Orders set conditions while your divorce is pending. Common issues addressed in written Temporary Orders may include child custody and visitation, child support, who will live in the marital home, spousal support, health insurance, and restraining orders. Well-written Temporary Orders lay the foundation for final settlement and can often help avoid costly issues arising during the divorce process and in the drafting of the final Separation Agreement signed by you and your spouse.
If you and your spouse can reach an agreement on all of the issues applicable to your marriage, you will put it into a document called a Separation Agreement. Separation Agreements are used in both uncontested and contested divorces.
If your situation is very simple, meaning there are no children involved, no assets, and no contested issues, your Separation Agreement can be simple and informal, although it must still be in writing and signed by both spouses. In Contested Divorces involving families with children as well as complicated finances, the Separation Agreement may be very lengthy, complicated, and detailed.
Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, your agreement must be approved by a judge who will review the agreement and your circumstances, and ask both of you questions to make sure that you truly understand the terms of the agreement.
If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on the terms of the divorce on your own, you can choose divorce mediation. Mediation avoids a trial, is less expensive, and keeps the decisions in your hands. Divorce mediation is less expensive and can be less stressful on you and your spouse, and your children, if you have any, than a divorce that is contested and goes through litigation in the Probate and Family Court.
Domestic relations orders, such as child support, child custody, and protective orders, may be modified by the court under certain conditions. For instance, if either person’s income changes significantly, child support orders may be modified up or down. That does not mean you can stop paying or pay less if you lose your job or your pay goes down. The order must be modified by the court, or you can be held in contempt for violating the existing court order.
Annulment not only ends a marriage, it makes it as if the marriage never existed. An annulment can be used to document the fact that a marriage which was never valid does not exist or to reverse a valid and binding marriage which is voidable for certain reasons should a spouse choose to seek an annulment. A marriage can be invalid or void for the following reasons:
- Bigamy – One spouse was already married and the other spouse did not know
- Consanguinity – Spouses are too closely related by blood
- Affinity – Spouses are too closely related by marriage
Grounds which make a valid marriage voidable include:
- Fraud in convincing a person to marry
- Lack of mental capacity to consent, including being intoxicated or a minor child at the time of the marriage
A spouse who does not agree that the marriage is void or voidable can ask for affirmation of the marriage. No one can be forced to stay in a marriage in Massachusetts. Affirmation merely means that the marriage exists, and can only be dissolved by divorce.
Family Law attorney Karen D. Lane’s office is located in the town of Sherborn, which is centrally located in Middlesex County, 3.3 miles directly south of the Mass Pike, on the Natick/Framingham town lines. She represents family law clients throughout metro-suburban Boston in Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Worcester, and Essex counties. Please call Attorney Karen Lane at 508-655-5513 or contact her online today to schedule your free initial consultation about uncontested and contested divorces, temporary orders, separation agreements, modifications of orders and contempts, or annulment or affirmation of marriage.