Answers to Common Questions about Quincy Divorce

Massachusetts Courts for Family Law and Legal Matters for Quincy Clients

  • Norfolk County Probate and Family Court, 35 Shawmut Road, Canton, MA 02021 – handling family matters and probate proceedings
  • Quincy District Court, 1 Dennis Ryan Pkwy, Quincy, MA 02169 – handling cases relating to criminal, civil, housing, juvenile, mental health, and more
  • Land Court, Three Pemberton Square, Boston, MA 02108 – for issues related to real property, including title registration

What steps should I take before a divorce?

Once you make the mental decision to consider divorce, it can feel like you need to take action immediately. You do not. Before you talk to your spouse, you may first want to:

  • Talk to a couple of divorce lawyers, whether on the phone or in person. Most Quincy divorce lawyers will provide a free initial consultation. At the Driscoll Sanford Family Law office we will help you begin to understand the issues that will need to be decided and advise you on information and forms you will need to collect to the start the process.
  • Gather financial data, in case money should "disappear" between the time you mention divorce and the time you must fill out financial paperwork. If you left the finances up to your partner, you should begin to review financial documents and past tax returns so that you understand your finances better.

How long will it take to get divorced?

An uncontested divorce – one in which both parties are in agreement on the issues – can take as little as a month in Massachusetts. If there are issues you do not agree on, and particularly if one spouse wants to "pick a fight," a divorce could take a year or longer. The behavior of the spouses, and sometimes the behavior of the spouse's lawyers, will be a factor in the divorce process.

At the Driscoll Sanford Family Law we work to ensure that our clients receive cost-effective legal representation and that their case moves as quickly as possible. My clients can choose mediation, negotiations or divorce court. Mediation is usually the fastest option and divorce court the lengthiest.

How much does a divorce cost?

The cost of a divorce will vary depending upon the length of time, the number of meetings, and whether a trial is involved. It is our intention to charge you as little as we can and still provide you with a satisfactory result. We will charge you a flat fee or we will request a retainer and will then bill you hourly for the services we agreed upon at the beginning of your case.

Would divorce mediation work in my case?

The success of mediation as a method for arriving at a divorce agreement will depend greatly upon the desire of the couple to arrive at a resolution. Saving money can also be a strong motivator! As an impartial divorce mediator with many years of experience, we can assist you in arriving at an agreement on issues of property division and child custody.

Mediation is not the solution for everyone, however. Both parties must WANT to reach an agreement. If one spouse is abusive, refuses to participate, or you suspect that your spouse is lying about income or assets, mediation is not appropriate.

How is property split in an MA divorce?

Massachusetts divorce courts typically seek an equitable – though not always equal – division of marital assets. There are a number of factors that could result in something other than a 50/50 split. One spouse may ask for alimony and accept less property; or vice versa. Some property may be identified as "personal" property, rather than "marital" property, in which case it is not divided. One partner may choose to take more of the debt as well as more of the assets.

Although a divorce court judge will try to rule on as equal a distribution as possible, a couple may decide for themselves how they want to split their assets. A judge will usually agree to the property settlement agreement that the spouses have negotiated together.

What if my spouse is hiding money?

Is your spouse self-employed or the owner of a business? Do you suspect that your spouse has income he or she has not declared? There are ways to track income but it will require the help of a forensic accountant. If the amount of income is significant, it may be worth the cost of hiring this type of expert to review the books and tax paperwork of the business,

Is your spouse spending down, or wasting money?

Sometimes an angry spouse will try to hurt the other spouse by going on a spending spree, running up a credit card bill or emptying a bank account. If your spouse is spending down your assets, contact your divorce attorney immediately to ask a judge to put a hold on your accounts. You can also ask the judge to ensure debts are allotted to only the spouse who has incurred the debt, instead of to the couple.

How are retirement accounts divided?

When it comes to retirement assets like pensions and IRAs, even if it was earned by one spouse, it is considered a marital asset. However, if part of a retirement fund was earned before marriage, that portion and the interest that has accrued on it, is generally not considered a marital asset and will be retained by the working spouse, along with half of the retirement fund earned during the marriage. Financial experts may be needed to tease apart an accurate division of a retirement asset.

Contact Quincy Property Division Lawyers Wilfred C. Driscoll, Jr. and Laurie A. Sanford

You can have confidence that when you work with us the details of your property division case will be handled in a cost-effective and professional manner. Call (617) 302-6870 or email Driscoll Sanford Family Law. We offer payment plans and flat-fee pricing for some legal matters.

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