Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

The basics of negotiating a divorce settlement

There are many issues to sort out during the divorce process. Understanding the scope of divorce-related issues that must be addressed, as well as how the family law process handles those issues, can be helpful for divorcing couples to understand. The divorce process is intended to help the divorcing couple each move forward in as positive a financial position as possible but that means a number of divorce-related issues must be sorted out beforehand.

A divorce settlement negotiated by the parties, with the assistance of the court when necessary, addresses financial divorce-related concerns such as property division, alimony and child support. Following a divorce, both parents are considered responsible for the financial and emotional support of their children. Child support calculations are based on state guidelines. Because these guidelines can change, it is helpful for parents to remain current considering how child support is calculated in Massachusetts.

In addition, alimony, or spousal support, concerns must also be resolved and can be an especially contentious part of any divorce process. Divorcing couples should understand the different types of alimony available in Massachusetts and under what circumstances it may be granted. While property division generally addresses the division of marital property, complexity as to the nature of the couple's property, as well as the treatment of particular property, can arise. Property division during divorce addresses property including personal property; bank accounts; business assets; real estate, including a family home; and retirement and pension accounts.

Because negotiating a divorce settlement can be challenging in the best of circumstances, couples entering the divorce process should be armed with as much knowledge of the process as possible. Knowing what to expect can make negotiating a divorce settlement a smoother process.

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator


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