On April first, two thousand fifteen, the provisions of the new Massachusetts domestic workers protection act went into effect, covering certain persons who are paid to perform work of a domestic nature in a private home. An employer of covered domestic workers must keep detailed records of their wages and hours, is subject to enforcement of wage and hour laws including injunctive relief and payment of triple damages and attorney’s fees, must abide by the anti-discrimination and anti-harassment laws, must give leaves of absence for childbirth or adoption under the paternity leave act, and must provide coverage for unemployment and workers compensation.
In a divorce situation, Massachusetts allocates property between spouses based on an equitable division of property. Some of the things the court considers in determining what is equitable are the length of marriage the conduct of the parties during the marriage, the age, health, skills and occupation of the parties, the contributions of each of the parties to the marriage and the opportunity of each person to acquire income and assets in the future.
Equitable division does not mean equal division although equal division is common. Equitable division means property should be divided fairly. Your legal professional can assist you in determining what an equitable division of property is and what you are entitled to.
Marital property is property that a couple acquires during a marriage. Separate Property is property that one spouse owns before marriage or acquires by gift or inheritance during the marriage. All people getting divorced in Massachusetts must divide their marital property as part of the divorce process. Sometimes parties can agree on what is marital property and how to divide it. Other times, it can be hard to determine what is marital property because the couple has been commingling separate property and marital property.
If the parties can’t agree, then the court will determine the value of the assets and will divide a couple’s property in any matter that seems fair and equitable. Each case is different and is based on the individual facts and circumstances.
In Massachusetts, as soon as a divorce complaint is filed, an automatic restraining order issues which prohibits either party from moving, transferring or hiding any marital assets other than those necessary for ordinary living expenses and to pay your attorney. This automatic order also prohibits the parties from incurring debts in their spouses name or from changing life or health insurance policies and beneficiaries.
If a party wants to use any asset for reasons other than ordinary living expenses, they must obtain written consent of their spouse or permission from a judge. Your legal professional can assist you in determining what actions are permissible relating to your finances in a divorce.
Parents can ask the court to grant them sole or shared custody. If the parents are unmarried, an unmarried mother has sole legal and physical custody of her child until the court orders otherwise. The father must then establish paternity unless the parties voluntarily agree on paternity. If the parents are married, both parents share legal custody of the child and equal rights to parenting time until a court orders otherwise. The court can decide the parenting schedule and include details of how much time the child physically resides with each parent, and who can make important decisions about education or medical care. The court makes all decisions concerning custody and visitation by looking at what is in the best interest of the child.
In Massachusetts, the courts must apply the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines to determine the appropriate amount of child support. There is a rebuttable presumption that the amount of the Order which would result from the application of the guidelines is the appropriate amount of support. The court may deviate from the guidelines if the amount of support ordered would be unjust or inappropriate under the circumstances.
If the court does award a deviation, it must include the specific facts of the case that justify a departure from the guidelines and the departure must be in the best interest of the child. If you have any questions about the appropriate amount of child support for your situation, you should consult your legal professional.
There are a number of factors that a judge considers when awarding alimony and when alimony can be granted. General alimony can be awarded if there is a need and if there is no child support being paid. If child support is being paid, alimony is only granted if the parties have a combined income in excess of $250,000. General alimony is granted for a period of time determined by the length of the marriage.
In addition to general alimony, there are three other types: rehabilitative alimony, reimbursement alimony and transitional alimony. In addition, men can also receive alimony as the law does not discriminate on the basis of gender. You may also agree on an amount of alimony in order to reduce taxes when child support is awarded.
There are two types of divorce in Massachusetts – “fault divorce” and “no fault divorce.” In a “no fault” divorce the parties only have to prove that their marriage has irretrievably broken down and that the parties have irreconcilable differences. “Fault” divorces are very rare. There are seven grounds for a fault divorce in Massachusetts.
In order to proceed on the basis of “fault” the Plaintiff must prove one of the seven grounds for divorce, or in other words, that the defendant committed a wrong that allows the plaintiff to be granted a divorce. The defendant can offer a defense and if successful, a divorce is not granted. In a “no fault” divorce, it is not necessary to prove anything beyond that the marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown.
There are four different types of legally defined custody: Sole Legal custody, shared legal custody, sole physical custody and shared physical custody. Legal custody is who has responsibility for making major decisions regarding the child, such as education and medical care. Physical custody is where the child is actually living on a day to day basis. Sole physical custody is when the child is living with one parent. This is usually subject to reasonable visitation by the non-custodial parent. Shared physical custody means the children have periods of living with each parent. It is best if parents can agree on custody of the children, but if they cannot, the court will determine custody based on what is in the best interest of the child.
On April first, two thousand fifteen, the provisions of the new Massachusetts domestic workers protection act went into effect. Domestic workers must be provided with a notice of state and federal rights that apply and, if they work at least sixteen hours per week, they must also receive a detailed ten point notice covering things like pay, hours, breaks, benefits, fees, duties, grievance process, right to workers compensation, right to privacy, and termination. The types of domestic work covered are housekeeping, housecleaning, home management, nanny services, caretaking of persons including the sick and elderly, laundering, cooking, and home companion services.