One of the most important things a family lawyer can do for you is to listen, hear your story, and be your advocate. At the Law Offices of Richard A. Kelley, we know how difficult divorce and the matters that surround it, including child custody and support and division of property, can be. Every situation is unique, and we are here to stand up for you. We believe in being responsive and answering all your questions and concerns, no matter how small or how great. We are respectful of your needs, especially through trying times. Most of all, we work hard to find the least stressful, most cost-effective way to help you meet your goals.
Getting you the solution that’s right for you and your family
Whether you’re contemplating divorce, have been asked for a divorce, or are in the process of one and need to make sure that your rights are protected regarding your children and your assets, we provide a steady hand and solid strategies that are vital as you start rebuilding your life. In these especially challenging times, you can count on us to act with integrity and compassion, yet with the tenacity required to help ensure that you get the best possible outcomes in matters of:
- Divorce: Under Massachusetts law, you need to reside in the commonwealth for one year in order to file for a divorce. Of course, it’s more complicated than it may seem. As your divorce lawyer, we know that the decisions you make have a profound impact on your finances, your family, and your future. We help you weigh your options, in matters including:
- Contested divorce: If one spouse disagrees with the divorce or its terms, it is a contested divorce. In essence, it is a lawsuit that includes motions, discovery, and court appearances. If differences cannot be worked out between spouses, the terms may ultimately be decided by the judge. Having a relentless advocate on your side offers the greatest chance to get what you need, want, and deserve.
- Uncontested divorce: If you and your soon-to-be ex can agree 100 percent on all terms of your divorce, the divorce process will be less costly, both financially and emotionally. Our divorce attorney guides you through the process and helps ensure that your best interests, and those of your children, are being met.
- Child custody: Child custody and visitation (referred to as parenting time) are among the most contentious issues in a divorce. Child custody may fall under sole physical custody, shared physical custody, sole legal custody or shared legal custody. Hopefully, parents can put aside their differences and do what is right for the children. As far as the court is concerned, the standard is what is in the “best interest of the child.”
- “In making an order or judgment relative to the custody of children, the rights of the parents shall, in the absence of misconduct, be held to be equal, and the happiness and welfare of the children shall determine their custody. When considering the happiness and welfare of the child, the court shall consider whether or not the child’s present or past living conditions adversely affect his physical, mental, moral or emotional health.”
We work diligently to help balance your rights as a parent and your child’s needs, while satisfying the courts requirements; including cases involving same-sex and unwed parents.
- Child support: While both parents have a responsibility for the financial support and security of their children, child support is paid to the custodial parent (the child’s primary caretaker) by the non-custodial parent, typically until the child is 18 years old. Massachusetts has a set of child support guidelines that take into account each parent’s finances to calculate the support amount. In addition to helping with initial child support determinations, we can help with modifications, enforcement, or revisiting a child support order.
- Spousal Support (Alimony): The statute regarding alimony states that it is “the payment of support from a spouse, who has the ability to pay, to a spouse in need of support for a reasonable length of time, under a court order.” While the roots of alimony go back as far as 1754 BC, when it was considered the responsibility of a man to support a woman who bore him children, today it is gender-blind, and the amount awarded is generally based on the length of the marriage. In most cases, alimony is paid for a specific period of time. Whether you are the recipient or the responsible party, we can help you reach a fair and reasonable agreement.
- Division of property: Anything acquired during the marriage is considered marital property—and that includes both assets and debts. In Massachusetts, property is divided “equitably,” but that does not mean 50/50. Moreover, the courts may also consider non-marital property in the equation; for instance, real estate that was purchased prior to the marriage. Couples often are able to reach an agreement that is fair and equitable; for instance, one spouse may keep the house, and the other keeps the car and a larger share of the savings account. In theory, under Chapter 208, Section 34, the courts can award all the assets to one spouse. We provide guidance in helping you reach a fair and equitable division of property.
Relentless advocacy, compassionate care across a range of family law matters
Family law is about protecting those things that are most important to us; our children, our home, and our future. As a divorce attorney who helps people through all phases of the process, we bring both a passion for the law and a commitment to being by your side every step of the way. To learn more about how we can help, please call us at 781-460-9651 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.