Attorney Mark S. Horrigan brings over thirty years of legal expertise to the table for couples wrestling with their legal options in a divorce case. Many questions come up in a divorce case that deal with financial issues, child custody and living situations. Questions on issues such as these need quick and accurate answers and Attorney Horrigan can help guide you through the entire process.

Some commonly asked questions about divorce in Massachusetts include:

How do I get started on getting a divorce?

If the divorce is uncontested, the two parties file a joint petition for divorce with a separation agreement and an affidavit of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. Your separation agreement must address all aspects of the divorce.

If a divorce is contested, it begins by filing a complaint for divorce and a copy of that and a summons will be served to your spouse. The summons will be provided by the court when you file the divorce.
A filing fee is required for both types of divorce but can possibly be waived if the filing party is indigent.

What child custody issues should I discuss during the first meeting?

If children are involved, it can increase the tension and stress in a divorce situation. Much of that can be alleviated by being ready to provide at least some initial answers to the following questions:

  • Who will be asked to pay child support?
  • Who do you feel should have legal custody? (Legal custody is the right to make long-term decisions about the raising of a child, and key aspects of the child’s welfare – including the child’s education, medical care, dental care, and religious instruction)
  • Who will have physical custody? Where will the child live?
  • What will the visitation situation be (as you envision it)
  • How will grandparents be able to see the children?
  • Visitation with existing stepchildren
  • How will the children’s health & dental insurance be handled?
  • Also have information about other issues such as life insurance and uninsured medical costs
  • College tuition funding
  • How will children be claimed as dependents on income tax statements?

What documents should I have on hand?

You should have the following documents ready to present for your divorce case:

  • Individual and business income tax returns for the past three to five years (federal, state, and local)
  • Proof of your current income
  • Proof of your spouse’s current income
  • Prenuptial agreement (if you have one)
  • Separation agreement
  • Bank statements
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Pension statements
  • Retirement account statements
  • Trusts
  • Stock portfolios
  • Stock options
  • Mortgages
  • Property tax statements
  • Credit card statements
  • Loan documents
  • Utility bills
  • Other bills (e.g. school tuition, unreimbursed medical bills, music lessons for children, etc.)
  • Monthly budget worksheet
  • Completed financial statements
  • Employment contracts
  • Benefits statements
  • Life insurance policies
  • Health insurance policies
  • Homeowner’s insurance policies
  • Automobile insurance policies
  • Personal property appraisals
  • Real property appraisals
  • List of personal property (including home furnishings, jewelry, artwork, computers, home office equipment, clothing and furs, etc.)
  • List of property owned by each spouse prior to marriage
  • List of property acquired by each spouse individually by gift or inheritance during the marriage
  • List of contents of safety deposit boxes
  • Wills and Living Wills
  • Powers of attorney and Durable Powers of attorney
  • Advance health care directives