Family law comprises the many issues that arise whenever spouses or parents separate, divorce, or have disputes regarding child custody, support, and distribution of property. An experienced family law lawyer from Snook Law recognizes the extreme emotions that family law matters generate and approaches each client with empathy, understanding, and regard for their rights and circumstances.
Our office handles these common family law matters:
In domestic violence cases, a spouse can seek a protective order from the court prohibiting the other spouse from any contact with him/her. Protective orders can be obtained where a person’s or child’s safety, health or welfare is at risk.
Spousal Maintenance or Alimony
In longer marriages, a spouse can seek maintenance or alimony from the other, especially if that spouse sacrificed a career or school to support the other’s career, or where there is a material disparity in the parties’ income, assets, education and capacity to earn.
If the parents separate or divorce, there is the issue of who will be the primary custodian. The law does not necessarily favor joint physical and legal custody, where both parties have equal say on matters affecting the child’s health, education, and welfare. In most cases the children will primarily reside at one parent’s home.
If there is a dispute, the court will usually order an investigation and consider certain factors such as the parties ‘parenting skills, their character, the stability of the home and environment, any criminal history, if there is a history of alcohol or drug abuse, and other factors to determine what is in the child’s best interests. A parenting plan can be crafted by Snook Law that details who is the primary custodian, what the visitation schedule will be, how major decisions and expenses affecting the child will be addressed, and any other arrangements such as holidays, birthdays, and vacations.
Both parents have an equal obligation to support their children though the custodial parent is presumed to be contributing significantly more. Child support is generally determined through statutory guidelines though you or the court can deviate from the guidelines if circumstances support it. Support is generally based on both parents’ income, disposable income, the number of children, tax status, and expenses required for the child’s needs and activities.
Massachusetts is an equitable distribution state, which means that the marital property, real and personal, and debts may not be divided on a 50-50 basis, but rather on the equities and circumstances of the parties.
In determining the fair distribution of the marital property, the court takes into consideration factors such as the duration of the marriage; the contribution each spouse made to the acquisition, preservation, and appreciation in value of the marital assets; their age, health and occupation; their individual earning capacity; and personal needs.
Premarital agreements, or prenuptials, detail how the parties’ assets and debts will be divided if they dissolve the marriage, including whether spousal maintenance will be paid. These agreements require a full and honest disclosure of both spouses’ assets and financial situation.
Other Family Law Matters
Other matters that our office handles are adoptions, the rights of grandparents, tax issues and inheritance rights.
Retain Snook Law
Family law comprises a wide range of domestic issues that an experienced and resourceful lawyer from Snook Law handles on a daily basis. By having our office handle your separation, divorce, prenuptial, custody, child support, and any other domestic matters, you are assured of receiving dedicated and zealous representation.