Divorce is an incredibly taxing process no matter how cordial both parties are or how long they have known each other. The laws are inconsistent, and they vary depending on where you live, making the whole experience complicated.
And as if that’s not enough, divorce is generally a one-sided decision that may catch the other spouse completely off-guard. Very rarely do spouses sit down and come to the decision to end their marriage together.
In some cases, a jilted husband is left to struggle with the consequences of his spouse’s decision to separate. This can be a huge blow to the emotional health of a man. He is left with unprecedented stress and sleepless nights, with thoughts of no longer being able to be a part of his children’s lives.
Most men in these cases feel afraid of losing their legal rights in the Massachusetts family court system that, arguably, favors women and mothers during the divorce proceedings.
Whether you want an attorney to represent you throughout the case or you simply want some legal advice on key issues, Jay Davis can help. Jay has been practicing family law in Massachusetts for over 22 years, and he can make sure you are not taken advantage of during the process. Call Jay at 617-221-3548 or contact us online.
This post is designed to give you a place to start regardless of where you are in the process. We have tried to break down all the important stages of a divorce in Massachusetts from a man and a father’s point of view, so you can navigate this turbulent time with relative ease.
Get Legal Advice
Retaining an attorney is not mandatory when going through a divorce, but since it is a complex legal process with monumental ramifications on your future, you should get legal advice. Trying to go through a divorce without expert legal assistance puts you at a disadvantage, as adverse decisions rendered by the court can be extremely difficult to reverse later on.
Meet an Experienced Divorce Attorney
An initial consultation with a family law or divorce attorney can give you key insights into what you can expect throughout the proceedings. From an overview of how divorce works in Massachusetts to professional legal advice based on your unique case, a consultation offers the first glimpse of what lies ahead even if you don’t retain the attorney.
Your initial consultation is a vital starting point, so make sure you get the most out of your appointment. Have a list of questions prepared and take notes throughout the meeting. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification whenever something is unclear.
Jay offers a complimentary legal consultation before taking any case. During your appointment, you are free to ask any questions you have and he will do his best to give you an accurate picture as to what will happen and what your options are.
Even if you don’t feel the need to hire an attorney, but wouldn’t mind a bit of free advice from one of the most respected and successful divorce attorneys in Massachusetts, give Jay a call at 617-221-3548 or contact us online.
File for Divorce
Once you have decided that divorce is the right option for you, you will need to understand how the filing process for divorce works in Massachusetts.
This step alone can be extremely complicated, especially in the state of Massachusetts. For example, you’ll need to determine what type of divorce you should file or how to respond to a divorce filed against you.
You will also need to know the various grounds for filing for a divorce, what to expect regarding filing fees, important deadlines, the residency requirements, how to officially serve the petition to your spouse, and a lot more.
An experienced attorney can handle all of these aspects for you so you don’t have to. They will also make sure you have all the necessary documentation like pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, etc. to present to the court to support your case.
Once you or your attorney has filed for the divorce, you will need to sort out the living arrangements. One of the biggest mistakes that men make during their divorce is to move out of the marital residence.
This may seem like an obvious step to many, especially if you and your soon-to-be-ex are not on good terms. But it immediately puts you at an incredible disadvantage in a number of ways. For starters, you may be required by the court to continue covering the utility bills and mortgage payments of that house even if you move out.
Considering a divorce process can stretch to more than a year, paying two sets of bills may not be a feasible financial option for you. You will also lose daily access to your kids, which can hurt your case when the time comes to determine a visitation schedule.
Division of Property
It can be difficult to agree on what is a fair division of assets. Massachusetts is an equitable state in this regards (i.e. the division of property in a divorce must be equitable). But don’t make the mistake of thinking that equitable means “equal.” It just means “fair” to both spouses, which is much harder to define.
You will need to understand how to differentiate between marital and separate property. You’ll also need to learn all the factors the judge will use to determine how the entire property is split.
If you’re like most people, you probably never stepped foot in front of a judge before you filed for a divorce. So, make sure you know exactly how to behave in front of a judge. Everything from how you address the judge to how you look will play a crucial role in how you are perceived.
This may end up playing a bigger role in your case than you may realize. Holding the judge and courtroom in high esteem and being mindful of following the right procedure is critical for making a good impression.
Keep in mind, that judge is going to sign off on a document that will affect you for the rest of your life! Avoid doing anything that may cast you in a negative light, like appearing rude and disrespectful, or showing up in casual looking attire.
Ask yourself, what more can you do to make a good impression on the judge, even outside of the courtroom? Here are some easy tips to help you:
- Avoid making any blunders that can hurt your case, like using your kids for spying, spreading gossip, or leaving offensive voicemail/text messages.
- Always say “our” children whenever you are addressing the judge; never say “my” children.
- Demonstrate your ability to be calm and patient.
- Be 100% transparent and honest when preparing your financial documents and listing your assets.
Even after your divorce is finalized, there are many issues that can be revisited later due to a change in circumstances. Some of the most common post-divorce matters include alimony and custody modifications, adjusting visitation of custody, contempt of court, etc.
Massachusetts family law courts usually calculate income between supporting spouses and parents based on their ability to earn income – instead of their actual income.
If your spouse is not working even though they clearly have the ability to, make sure you are working with an attorney who can request the court to urge them to get into the workforce and support themselves as much as they can.
And if you find yourself no longer being able to pay the same amount of alimony payments, you or your attorney will need to prove to the court that the existing award is not feasible due to a significant change in your situation.
Why Work with Davis Law Group
Between Jay Davis and his legal team, they have a collective experience of over 80 years in family law and divorce matters in Massachusetts. This gives them an unbeatable advantage in making sure your rights as a man and a father are protected and you win a favorable outcome in court.
They understand that sometimes the justice system may come off as unfair to men in divorce and custody cases, but working with a legal team that’s rooting for you can make all the difference.
Even if you are already in the middle of a divorce and think it’s not going well for you, call us at 617-221-3548 or contact us online. Jay Davis and his legal team will carefully evaluate your case and point it in the right direction.
James H. (Jay) Davis III
Thank you for reading. Need to talk? 617-221-3548