What To Know About Divorce
Divorce, even when it is necessary, is often stressful. Part of that stress comes from uncertainty about how the process will impact you and your children. O'Rourke & Hawk, LLP‘s divorce attorney, Renee Hawk, is dedicated to protecting your rights and your property. She will also keep your financial situation in mind and discuss the monetary aspects of your choices.
Here are answers to a number of questions Attorney Hawk hears from the clients in her practice.
My spouse filed for divorce, but I don’t want a divorce. Can I stop him/her?
No. Either party in a divorce has a right to obtain one if they want to. In fact, a party may obtain a divorce on nearly any grounds, so long as there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and there is no hope of reconciliation.
Do I need to live in Massachusetts to file for divorce in Massachusetts?
The husband or wife must reside in Massachusetts and must have lived in Massachusetts for at least two of the last three years, or the breakdown of the marriage had to occur in Massachusetts.
We signed a prenuptial agreement. How will that work?
A pre-nuptial agreement governs what will happen in a divorce, provided the court deems it is reasonable both when drafted and when it is exercised. An example of a prenup that may not be considered reasonable is where the couple agreed to waive alimony, however, the marriage is long-term and one spouse earned significantly more than the other spouse over the course of the marriage.
What documents will I need to file for divorce?
You will need a certified copy of your marriage certificate. You can get this either from the local town hall that issued your marriage certificate or from the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
How do I protect my assets once I file for divorce?
An automatic restraining order will be placed on your assets. This means that neither person can use the assets for anything beyond their normal living expenses. For example, if a spouse decided to go on a $200,000 shopping spree (and that was not a normal activity), s/he could be ordered in the divorce to repay that money, or the assets may be divided with that in mind.
My spouse has taken all of our money from our joint accounts. What do I do?
You or your attorney should file for divorce immediately (if you haven’t already). Your attorney should file an emergency motion to explain to the judge what has happened, that there is a strong likelihood your spouse will take the money and not return it, and why you need help. The judge can either order the money to be returned or set a date for a hearing where your spouse has to explain his or her actions.
My spouse has a retirement plan. Is that something I can receive a portion of?
Yes. It is subject to division and based on the type of retirement plan in question, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) can be used to divide the retirement plan as part of an overall agreement for divorce and division of your property.
My spouse may receive an inheritance. Will that be considered in the division of assets?
It may be considered in what you will receive in the divorce. By obtaining a Vaughn Affidavit, you may review the estimated estate involved from other people to include as part of the division of your marital assets.
Once the marital property has been divided, is it final or can it be changed via a modification?
Once you enter into divorce, the division of assets is final. The only exception is if one party committed fraud, for example, hiding assets during the divorce process.
More Questions? Contact O'Rourke & Hawk, LLP Today
O'Rourke & Hawk, LLP is based in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and serves clients across the Boston metro area. To set up an initial consultation, call 617-337-3188 or use the online intake form to send an email.