Legal disputes between family members can be exceptionally stressful because of the emotional and financial interests at stake. When two people who have spent years building a life together decide to go their separate ways, anger and self-interest can pave the way to bitter fights over money, property, and children. The consequences of a divorce can affect all parties involved for many years to come.
At the Boston Law Offices of Jacob D. Geller, LLC, you will find an attorney ready to guide you through this challenging process and work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome. We’ll take the time to thoroughly understand your goals and answer any questions before moving forward with legal action. If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, or are already going through one, please contact us at 781-462-1346 or online for a free consultation.
Our lawyers currently provide services in the following areas of family law:
In Massachusetts, it’s not hard to find a legal justification for divorce. You can end your marriage for many different reasons, including an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, adultery, impotency, desertion for one year, alcohol or drug addiction, cruel and abusive treatment, confinement for five years or more in prison, and willful neglect and refusing to provide suitable maintenance and support. The difficult part of divorce proceedings is protecting your financial and parental interests. Our experienced lawyers will advocate on your behalf to reach a fair resolution to these issues and others.
Divorce and Immigration
Our specialty is immigration, so we understand how divorce and immigration fit together. We also understand what U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services considers a proper divorce and proper marriage. We can help you solve any potential issues regarding your marriage and your immigration process so that you do not receive any unpleasant surprises. Immigration is a sensitive area; unlike other areas that may be fixed with time, incorrect handling of divorces and immigration cases can have serious consequences. Our attorneys understand immigration and divorce and will be able to help you properly manage both your immigration and divorce cases.
Alimony (or spousal support) is money paid by one spouse to the other. This is usually paid where the income of the two spouses is drastically unbalanced, with one spouse earning far more than the other. In the past, alimony could be unending and disastrous for the party ordered to pay for it. In March 2012, the Massachusetts legislature passed the Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act, which changed a great deal regarding the payment of alimony, putting hard limits on the duration of alimony in most cases, as well as making provisions for shorter marriages.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
In Massachusetts, alternative dispute resolution, like mediation, is the preferred method of resolving family matter disputes. Many family law legal matters can be solved more quickly and more efficiently outside the court room, and we, as attorneys, are required under law to both advise our clients about alternative dispute resolution and attempt to resolve cases outside the courtroom. However, quite often there are issues in family law cases that cannot be resolved without a trial or judge’s decision. Our attorneys will advocate on your behalf to make sure your family law matter is handled in the quickest and most efficient manner possible.
Child Custody & Visitation
Massachusetts courts decide child custody and visitation issues with one overriding goal in mind – “the best interests of the children.” In many divorces, spouses let the anger they feel towards each other carry over to fights about the kids, resulting in squabbles about small details like what summer camp the kids will attend. Judges will try to look past these arguments and analyze the specifics of your family’s situation to come up with a plan that will benefit the child the most. As child custody lawyers, we will be steadfast in our efforts to negotiate a settlement that meets the needs of you and your children.
Child support payments in this state are based on the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines, which uses a standard formula to determine how much you or your spouse will have to pay. The goals of the guidelines are to minimize the financial impact of the divorce on the child’s standard of living, allocate responsibility for child support payments based on the income of each spouse, as well as other objectives.
Modifications to Agreements
Many people seek to modify agreements related to child custody, child support, or alimony. To get a modification order from a judge in Massachusetts, you will have to show that you have experienced “changed circumstances” since the last time you were in court. Changed circumstances can include job loss, promotion, raises, moving away from the area, drug or alcohol abuse, criminal activity, and changes in the needs of a child. Our modification lawyers can examine the facts of your situation and present compelling legal arguments on your behalf to the court.
If your ex-spouse is not complying with an order from the Massachusetts Family Court, for example by ignoring child support payments or not following the visitation schedule, a contempt order may be appropriate. Our attorneys can file a Complaint for Contempt on your behalf, which will result in the issue going before a judge. The judge has a number of options available if she determines that the obligor (the person required to make payments) isn’t following a court order. If the judge finds the contempt egregious, she can incarcerate the defendant until the defendant complies with the order or she can give the defendant a brief amount of time to comply. Having an attorney for this process is highly recommended because given the high stakes involved, it’s important to have someone on your side who can effectively argue the relevant facts and law.
Prenuptial agreements, also known as premarital agreements or pre-nups, can be a powerful tool for protecting the assets you’ve accumulated prior to the marriage. Prenuptial agreements are contracts entered into before marriage that govern how to handle property, child custody, and inheritance if the marriage ends in divorce or with the death of one spouse. These agreements aren’t necessary in every case, but they can be very helpful in a number of situations, such as if you are bringing significant assets to the marriage or are looking to protect the inheritance rights of kids from a previous marriage. If you are looking to secure your assets prior to marriage, our experienced attorneys are ready to help create a prenuptial that’s tailored to your particular needs.
Our lawyers can produce cohabitation agreements for couples who are living together but not looking to get married. Many people in Massachusetts want to live under the same roof, split expenses, and raise kids jointly, but without being married, they won’t enjoy the same legal protections. A cohabitation agreement can provide some of the benefits associated marriage, like mechanisms for dealing with situations where real estate is held in only one person’s name or if one of you pays most of the household expenses. Please note that cohabitation agreements are contractual in nature and are not subject to the same protections as marriage.
Domestic Violence / Restraining Orders
If you are the victim of domestic violence, stalking, or harassment, our lawyers can get you the help you need. We are ready to navigate the legal system to obtain temporary restraining orders, aka orders of protection, so you can focus on taking care of yourself and your loved ones. We will make it our mission to ensure that you have access to all the available resources in the criminal justice system and elsewhere.