Marriage, Divorce & Family
Whether you are already married, entering into a new marriage, ending one, or sharing a household with your significant other, there are many legal issues to consider. Concerns faced by families include care and schooling of children, monetary assets, real estate, spousal support, employment, and estate planning.
We will assist you with every aspect of the legal issues you might face when your partnership is in transition.
In perhaps no other area of law is sensitivity toward your emotional and financial needs, combined with effective advocacy for your legal rights, more paramount. Bacon Wilson can guide you through the good times and the bad.
Please review our areas of practice below or call one of our family law attorneys to discuss your particular situation.
The process of adopting a child can be a time of great stress and nervous anticipation, often followed by relief and elation as a child is welcomed into a family. Whether you are working with the Department of Children and Families (DCF), a domestic or international private agency, or even with adult children, we can help. It is important to follow guidelines and procedures to ensure that the adoption process is smooth and the result is final. Bacon Wilson will help you navigate the process and allow you to keep your attention where it belongs – on parenting.
There is no common law marriage in Massachusetts, so unmarried couples who live together do not have the same rights and protections as their married counterparts. Unless their partnership is defined through a legal contract such as a cohabitation agreement, the law is likely to classify them as strangers in the event that the relationship dissolves. A cohabitation agreement allows each party to carefully consider intentions, obligations, and expectations for the relationship. Our legal team can advise you in this matter.
The goal of collaborative law is to achieve a settlement that best meets the specific needs of both parties without the underlying threat of contested litigation. This method of alternative dispute resolution is becoming especially popular in family law, where parties agree that they want to do what’s in the best interests of their children. Additional family issues that may be resolved through the collaborative process include disputes between parents and the preparation of pre- and post-marital contracts.
Disputes in other areas of the law may also be resolved through the collaborative process. You may read more here.
Co-ownership Of Property
There are three principal types of ownership (tenancies) relative to real estate. Each type of ownership has advantages and disadvantages that may affect your specific situation. Our attorneys can help you determine which suits you best.
There are two main types of custody: physical and legal. Both types of custody can be shared between parents or held solely by one parent. Sadly, a growing number of parents are entering into custody battles. Sometimes a custody battle is necessary to protect a child, while at other times, it is an attempt by a parent to increase visitation and increase their right to have a say in decisions that affect the child’s welfare, education, and religion.
Learn more about our child custody and parenting time services.
The divorce process can be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. In today’s economy, the most common problem for divorcing spouses is how to use previously shared income to create two separate households, each with their own bills and expenses. Parents are worried about children, what to do with the house, retirement accounts, and how they will live once the divorce is over. It is an emotionally-charged process, and one that we believe absolutely requires the guidance and advice of a skilled attorney. The possibility of losing legal rights to children, assets, and health insurance, is too risky to embark upon without appropriate legal counsel.
This is an emerging area of law in which grandparents may seek visitation rights to their grandchildren. In many cases, the grandparent’s visitation may have previously been denied following a divorce, and a judge will determine that continued visitation is in the best interests of the child.
Letter Of Intent For Minor And Disabled Children
When parents contemplate the possibility of dying prematurely or suffering a catastrophic illness, they are naturally concerned about what will happen to their children. Parents of disabled children are often especially concerned about the quality of their children’s lives after a parent is gone.
These concerns can be addressed by writing a letter of intent (LOI). An LOI is a document in which parents include important information about their child’s history, personality, interests, care, development, needs, and current situation. It also includes the parents’ hopes and expectations regarding the child’s future.
Although an LOI is not a legally binding document such as a contract or a will, courts and future care providers will rely on it for guidance and insight into the needs of a child who can no longer be cared for by his or her parents. It serves as a voice on behalf of a child whose parents can no longer be that voice.
Writing a letter of intent can be a highly emotional experience and requires special attention and legal assistance to complete. Our firm can help in this matter.
Prenuptial (Antenuptial) Agreements
Also known as antenuptial agreements, prenuptial agreements are used in pre-marital planning for couples. Simply put, they are contracts drafted to protect premarital assets upon marriage. Parties can insulate some of their individual assets from becoming part of the marital pool and potentially being distributed to their partner upon divorce or death. Bacon Wilson can help you develop a prenuptial agreement that suits your particular needs.
Remarriage Estate Planning
Estate plans should always be updated upon entering a marriage. Acknowledging a new spouse by including them in your estate plan, or ratifying and confirming a prenuptial agreement, is critical to preserving your rights and assets according to your wishes. With the divorce rate reaching 50%, remarriages require estate planning. One spouse may wish to ensure that assets are available for the benefit of children from a previous marriage, or that assets are available for the second spouse. It may also be possible to establish trusts to fund the education of grandchildren or for medical purposes. Bacon Wilson can assist you with these complex arrangements.
Married couples choosing to separate but not divorce encounter a unique set of circumstances. Even when a separation agreement is in place, absent a court order, such agreements are often unenforceable. Bacon Wilson’s experienced attorneys can handle your separation and divorce arrangements.
Visitation, now called “parent time,” is a very complex area of law. There are several types of visitation and limitless other considerations for each family’s unique needs. These often include the work schedule of the parents, locations of residences, ages of the children, and many other factors. Visitation issues can arise for never-married parents, divorcing parents, after a specific incident, and during custody battles. Visitation agreements can also be modified any time there is a change in circumstance for one or both parents. Bacon Wilson can assist you with making a case for the parent time your children need.