It’s predictable. We know the phone is going to start ringing like crazy once the kids end the school year.
Norwood, MA (PRWEB) June 1, 2010
As the school year draws to a close, it’s time for the last few classroom projects, time for the kids to make last minute summer plans – and for many couples, time for a divorce. As in years past, the divorce lawyers at The Massachusetts Family Law Group -- a domestic relations law firm with offices in Norwood, Woburn, Worcester, Springfield and Plymouth -- is once again expecting a rise in divorce inquiries and divorce filings during the summer months.
“Right after Memorial Day weekend, it’s like clockwork,” says Irwin M. Pollack, founder and lead attorney of The Massachusetts Family Law Group. “It’s predictable. We know the phone is going to start ringing like crazy once the kids end the school year.”
While about 18,000 individuals file for divorce in Massachusetts each year, the number of new filings by month or by region isn’t made publically available. However, quarrelling couples often wait until the end of the school year before splitting up in an attempt to not disrupt their children’s daily security, routine or academic performance. “Couples may wait until early summer, but the decision to file paperwork is usually the deferral of a decision that spouses have made months earlier,” says Maria M. Rivera-Ortiz, the firm’s Managing Attorney.
Divorce trends also increase when the youngest children leave for college, leaving couples with more time to spend together, focusing not on child or family issues, but on each other. Many find they have little in common and have drifted apart over the years.
Alternatively, some couples put the decision off and wait to get through the summer and long-awaited vacation plans. Both Pollack and Rivera-Ortiz insist that the end-result is that people save up all that anger. When they explode in late August or early September, it ends up being a fury of activity for divorce lawyers, much like what accountants see days before the tax filing deadline.
Given that Massachusetts divorces are handled by the Probate and Family Court, and each has different rules and procedures that lawyers must follow, spouses are well-advised to retain a Massachusetts divorce lawyer who has both courtroom experience and a strong background in their county court. Knowing the personality and disposition of how each judge likes to do things and how the case should be presented puts many at an early advantage.
Once the divorce process begins, couples must address issues of child custody and parenting schedules, asset and debt division, financial support and insurance. Each party to an action must attend a mandated, court-approved parenting class and submit a financial statement to the court. Additionally, each litigant must provide the opposing party with a minimum of three years of tax returns, bank statements, retirement account statements, loan applications and recent paystubs.
While the roles of husband and wife may end, children deserve both parents and the roles of mom and dad never go away. In each of the 14 divisions of the court, the hallmark “best interest of the child” principle is applied in all matters relating to decision-making and parenting schedules.
There are legal mechanics of dividing up a couples’ marital estate, and Pollack emphasizes an essential point: “Hiding assets or not reporting income creates big problems in domestic relations cases. Not only is it a devious thing to do, it’s illegal. The law provides that married people have a legal relationship known as a ‘fiduciary duty’ from the time they get married until at least the moment that they are finally divorced.”
Pollack says that assets are traditionally hidden in one of four ways: the person denies the existence of an asset, assets are transferred to a third party, the person claims the asset was lost or dissipated, or there’s a creation of false debt.
Pollack and Rivera-Ortiz say tax returns are the first place to look for hidden assets, and with the help of forensic accountants any person’s financial truth can unravel in a matter of minutes.
Spouses who are self-employed or who are principal shareholders of closely-held corporations pose additional risks in divorce cases. Pollack says that manipulating one’s salary by taking less pay and then taking loans from the company to make-up the shortage is easy to spot. Additionally, charging personal expenses to corporate accounts or retaining excessive earnings (undistributed profits) are routine disguises to beware of when it comes to financial disclosure from a divorcing spouse.
For more information about The Massachusetts Family Law Group or to find a Massachusetts divorce lawyer, visit http://www.MassachusettsFamilyLawGroup.com.
Irwin M. Pollack, Esquire
The Massachusetts Family Law Group
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