FAQ

How long can a divorce take?

That depends on many factors, most specifically, how acrimonious the proceedings are. The more fighting, the longer a case will take. An amicable divorce can take as little as three months. An acrimonious divorce could take years.

I am so overwhelmed by this divorce. What can I do to stay organized and focused during the course of my divorce?

One of the things you can do is to control the things you can. Start with setting up a system to organize all of your financial documents and other documents related to your divorce. It doesn't have to be fancy or elaborate, but it can help you control some of the "chaos."

What would you suggest for a "starter" system?

You should start out with a few file folders. I recommend that you have file folders for (1) documents you receive from the court, (2) documents you receive from your attorney, (3) your pay stubs or earnings statements, (4) tax returns, (5) bank statements, (6) credit card statements and (7) your bills. These are all documents you will need at some time during the course of your divorce. If you already have files for these items, you are already ahead of the game.

What can I do to make sure the judge knows everything about my circumstances so that the judge can make a fair decision?

Most importantly, be certain to share all of the information with your attorney. The more information your attorney has, the better your attorney is able to represent you before the court. Your attorney will have the experience and the know how to determine how and when that information should be used to your advantage. Clients are sometimes hesitant to share information that they consider private or information they think might make them look bad. It is best that your attorney know about such things ahead of time so that your attorney can be prepared when the information is brought up in court by your spouse or your spouse's attorney.

Can I get a divorce if my spouse doesn't want to?

Yes, no one can prevent you from obtaining a divorce. The reality is, however, that the divorce may last longer and be more expensive if you spouse is uncooperative.

How much does a typical divorce cost at Mirick O'Connell?

Every case is different. The costs are based on an hourly rate. During the initial consultation, we will provide a reasonable estimate of the cost and fees associated with your divorce case and will request an initial retainer.

What are the factors the court considers in deciding the division of marital assets?

  • Length of marriage
  • Conduct of the parties during marriage
  • Age of the parties
  • Health of the parties
  • Station of the parties
  • Occupation of the parties
  • Amount of income of the parties
  • Sources of income of the parties
  • Vocational skills of the parties
  • Employability of the parties
  • Estate of the parties
  • Liabilities of the parties
  • Needs of the parties
  • Opportunity of the parties to acquire future capital assets and income
  • Contribution of the parties in the acquisition, preservation and appreciation in value of their estate
  • Contribution of the parties as a homemaker to the family unit
  • Present and future needs of the dependent children

 Am I required to take a parenting class?

Yes, unless you are getting divorced in Dukes or Nantucket Counties. Otherwise, if there is a minor child of the marriage, both parties must attend a parenting education program before the Court will schedule a Pre-Trial Conference. The programs are designed to focus on the effect of the divorce on the child and to help the family adjust to its new structure. The programs are offered at various locations throughout the state and consists of 2 sessions of 2 ½ hours each. The cost of the program varies among the center offering the program, but the program cannot cost more than $65 per person. We are happy to help clients sign up for the program that works best for them.

When does general term alimony terminate?

Of the four types of alimony, general term alimony is the most common type of alimony. If an alimony Order or Judgment was entered prior to the alimony statute becoming effective in March 1, 2012, that Order or Judgment is deemed to be general term alimony.

General term alimony can terminate in a number of ways, including by further Order or Judgment of the Court.

Termination occurs upon the remarriage of the recipient or the death of either spouse. However, the Court may require the payor to provide life insurance or another form of security in the event of the death of the payor during the alimony term.

General term alimony also terminates on a date certain based upon durational limits, which are a percentage of the number of months of a marriage. The longer the marriage, the greater the percentage and therefore, the longer the term of alimony before the termination date is reached.

Next, general term alimony shall terminate upon the payor attaining the full retirement age, as defined under the United States Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program, which is based upon the payor's birth year.

Finally, general term alimony may be suspended, reduced or terminated upon the cohabitation of the recipient spouse when the payor shows that the recipient has maintained a common household with another person for a continuous period of at least 3 months, which requires an analysis using statutory factors.