Trying to adopt a child can be a confusing, complex and stressful process with life-long effects. Whether you are dealing with the court system, the Department of Children and Families or the child’s biological parent(s), there are generally numerous hoops to jump through. As such, it is often beneficial to have an attorney explain the overall process as well as the potential outcomes, so you can be well-informed. Our firm has handled many adoption cases and would be happy to guide you through the adoption process. Please contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
In Massachusetts, numerous pertinent factors are considered in the award of alimony or spousal support. Alimony may be awarded on a temporary or a permanent basis and is more likely to be awarded for longer term marriages. We can help determine whether alimony is appropriate in your situation and, if so, what amount of spousal support should be awarded.
If alimony has already been awarded by agreement or court order, we can work with clients to modify spousal support in the appropriate circumstances.
We understand that sometimes couples rush into marriage. In certain situations, a married couple can have their marriage completely erased through an annulment, though the circumstances are extremely limited. Most often, a marriage can be annulled under the following circumstances:
- Where the marriage is prohibited by law
- Where either party was impotent at the time of marriage
- Where either party had a spouse living at the time of marriage
- Where either party had the lack of capacity to contract
Our attorneys have extensive experience dealing with annulment and divorce matters. We would be happy to discuss your situation to determine your best option.
Child Custody & Visitation
Child custody can refer to either physical custody or legal custody. Physical custody relates to where the child will live after the parties are divorced, but it also applies to temporary arrangements that are made during the divorce proceedings. Legal custody concerns a parent’s rights and responsibilities to make major decisions that pertain to the child’s welfare, including matters of emotional, religious and moral development, education and medical care. Both legal and physical custody can be either sole or shared. Decisions as to custody, both physical and legal, are made based upon the best interests of the child, which are centered around the child’s individual needs.
For nearly three decades, we have worked with clients to successfully attain physical and legal custody of their children consistent with the children’s best interests. In addition, we have extensive experience with establishing parenting schedules that allow for non-custodial parents to maintain a healthy and ongoing relationship with the children. When necessary, we can provide assistance to a party who needs to create, change or enforce child custody arrangements.
Unless otherwise agreed upon by both parents, child support is determined by the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. An evaluation of the needs of the parties and the children as well as numerous other factors can weigh heavily on the determination of what is considered to be suitable child support.
We have worked closely to establish child support that is appropriate to meet the needs of our clients and their children. When child support obligations are not met by the non-custodial parent, we can assist in taking the necessary actions to enforce payments of support including seeking the involvement of the Department of Revenue. In the event a change in circumstances should warrant, we can assist you in modifying the child support obligations to meet your family’s needs.
The parties’ obligations and responsibilities under a Separation Agreement or a divorce decree are legally binding and, as such, enforceable. When one party fails to perform the specific obligations he or she is required to under a Separation Agreement or Court Order, the other party may file a Complaint for Contempt in order to have these obligations met.
We have extensive experience in initiating as well as defending Complaints for Contempt. Whether you are accused of being in contempt or feel your ex-spouse has failed to perform his or her obligations under a Separation Agreement or Court Order, we can help you achieve the results that you need.
Department of Children & Families
Dealing with the Department of Children and Families or DCF can be one of the most trying times in a parent’s life. It’s often a confusing and complicated process that no parent ever expects to endure and because of that, most are entirely unprepared for it. Being involved with the DCF can have serious legal consequences for both you and your family. As such, it is important that you know your rights and feel equipped for the any and all interactions you have with the DCF. Our firm has handled many cases with DCF involvement and would be happy to help in whatever capacity you choose. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.
The decision to file for a Complaint for Divorce is a difficult one that must take into consideration issues such as the division of assets, payment of alimony, and, if children are involved, custody, parenting time and child support.
In Massachusetts, a party can file either a contested or an uncontested Complaint for Divorce. An uncontested divorce is one in which the spouses are able to come to an agreement as to how to dissolve their marriage and resolve issues such as the division of assets, child custody, parenting time, support and allocation of debts. This is accomplished by the parties entering into a Separation Agreement, a contract that outlines the terms for the resolution of the divorce. This Separation Agreement is then either merged and incorporated by the Court as part of the divorce decree or incorporated and not merged by the Court as part of the divorce decree but rather survives as an independent legal contract. In an contested divorce, the parties are unable to come to an agreement as to the dissolution of their marriage, as such, the matter seeks the intervention of the Probate and Family Court. These proceedings can continue to trial wherein the Probate and Family Court makes a determination as to spousal support, an equitable distribution of the parties’ assets and debts, child support, child custody, and parenting time. Often, in cases where a divorce is contested, the parties can come to an agreement as a result of negotiations on issues that are in dispute and, by doing so, can avoid having the case go to trial.
Whether contested or uncontested, Foley & MacAdie, P.C. can assist you in your divorce by providing you with the expertise, experience and guidance to protect all your interests, whether they be related to the division of marital assets and debts, payment of alimony and child support, or concerning custody and visitation of your children. We understand the difficult and unique challenges each client faces when filing for divorce and we approach each case with a combination of sensitivity and skill to accomplish results in the most expedient and cost effective manner.
Depending on your estate itself, formulating an estate plan can quickly become an incredibly complex process that requires knowledge and experience to determine the planning strategy best for you. An efficient estate plan can save considerable time and money when transferring an estate. Additionally, we can work with you to formulate and estate plan that streamlines the probate process for your heirs while maintaining your privacy. Our array of estate planning services includes:
- Probate administration
- Probate litigation
- Succession planning
Regardless of the complexity of your estate, we can help you develop the best possible estate plan for your needs.
Family Law Mediation
We believe that it is very important for couples who are facing the challenges of divorce, paternity actions or changes in support or parenting schedules to have the opportunity to work together with the assistance of a mediator to resolve the issues.
Often, it may be that the parties wish to avoid the financial and emotional expense of litigation.
Other times, parties may feel that it is important to them that they compromise their differences and while their agreement may well be imperfect, they believe that it is better to craft their own resolution rather than live with a court imposed decision
At our law firm, we firmly believe that offering this alternative to litigation provides our clients with a variety of problem solving paths, which all clients deserve. We are proud to announce that attorney Jessica MacAdie is certified as a family law mediator. Please call Jessica at 978-263-4160 for a complimentary consultation about our mediation services.
A guardian is person who is responsible for making legal decisions for someone who is unable to make those decisions on their own. Guardians can be utilized for children or for individuals who have become incapacitated through age or disability. Guardianship issues typically arise in regards to minor children where, for whatever reason, the child’s parents are unable to act in their best interest. In these cases, someone can be chosen or appointed to care for the child and make legal decisions in place of their parents. Obtaining a guardianship can be a intricate process with serious legal consequences for all parties involved. Our firm is experienced with various guardianship issues and would be happy to be of assistance to you. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation.
As times change, so often do the circumstances of the parties. What the parties may have agreed to under a Separation Agreement or what the Court may have ordered as part of a divorce decree based upon circumstances at the time of divorce may not be reasonable or fair at a later date. A Complaint for Modification is filed by one party when there has been a “material change” in circumstances since the time of divorce. Any number of reasons can attribute to a material change in circumstances, including variations in income, the loss of a job, a change in health, or a change in the needs of a party or the children. Upon specific finding, the Court may modify child support obligations or the payment of alimony to address the change in circumstances.
At Foley & MacAdie, P.C., we can assist you in determining whether a material change in circumstances has taken place and, if so, file a Complaint for Modification to establish support obligations that are consistent with such a change.
Establishing paternity is essential to protect your rights when it comes to custody and child support. At times, it is also often a necessary process for fathers who have doubts about the biology of the children involved. Our attorneys can help usher you through the paternity establishment process to ensure that your rights are protected.
Most often, paternity must be established through a paternity test, but the courts are very rigid in what they will and will not accept in this process. Our attorneys are very well-versed in what constitutes a court-admissible test, and we can help you through this emotionally difficult time and process.
To protect your parental rights, call us today to begin the process. We’re here to help!
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
Often in anticipation of marriage, a couple may decide to enter into a prenuptial agreement, which addresses how potential marital assets would be divided in the event of a divorce. While this can be an extremely touchy subject for most, having a prenuptial agreement can be beneficial as it spares the couple from enduring a very emotional and economically burdensome dispute, should the marriage end in divorce. Prenuptial agreements can be especially advantageous in situations where there is a disparity in income or assets, where one party owns a business or is expecting a hefty inheritance, where one party has significant debt, or where one or both parties have children from prior relationships.
While having prenuptial agreements can be valueable, not everyone has the time, need or forethought to create a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married; however, that does not always hold true throughout the marriage. In some instances, couples who are already married may have a desire or need to enter into a binding contract with one another, which would address the division of marital assets and future support in the event of a divorce. These binding contracts or postnuptial agreements can be helpful in situations where one party suddenly comes into a large sum of money or where one party anticipates incurring a lot of debt and would like to protect the other party from liability.
When dealing with prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, the most important issue is the agreement’s enforceability, which is why consulting an attorney is imperative when negotiating and preparing these agreements. At Foley & MacAdie, P.C., our experienced attorneys will ensure that your rights are fully protected in the event of a divorce. Please call today to schedule a consultation.
The division of property and assets during a divorce can be a difficult but vital aspect of any divorce. Numerous factors and considerations must be taken into account when a distribution of property takes place. The manner in which property is divided in Massachusetts must be equitable, which means that asset distribution should be fair though not necessarily equal. Foremost, it is necessary to distinguish between what is “marital property” and what is “non-marital property”. Generally, marital property consists of assets and debts, which are acquired after the date of the marriage and, therefore, belong to both spouses. Conversely, “non marital property” consists of assets and debts, which were acquired before the date of the marriage and, as such, belong to one spouse alone. As marital property belongs to both spouses, an equitable distribution must be made at the time of divorce.
Foley & MacAdie, P.C. is extremely experienced in high asset division involving complex financial analysis and evaluation of instruments including royalties, stock options, pension plans, retirement accounts and annuities. In working to achieve an equitable distribution of the assets, we focus on fully meeting the needs of our clients, both present and future. We can assist you in dividing both the marital assets and debts in a way that is most beneficial to your interests.
Restraining or Protective Orders are frequently implemented to protect a party from physical harm from another party. In domestic relations, restraining or protective orders are implemented, among other purposes, to deny a party access to the victim’s home, to prohibit an abusive party from contact with the children,to remove the abusive party’s right to own a firearm, and to provide the victim the ability to have the abusive party arrested upon any violation of the protective order.
We can discuss with you the appropriate measures to take to protect yourself and your children from your abuser, including filing for a restraining or protective order.