Substance abuse problem in the marriage

Posted by Attorney Bruce Watson
About one-half of the men and women I defend against criminal charges have an alcohol or drug problem. Perhaps one-quarter of the women and men I represent in divorce proceedings have experienced a substance abuse problem in the marriage.
While many people still think of this issue in terms of the passed-out drunk next to the Boston Common theater, or the drug addict who lives on the street, the reality is that many people — of all ages and income levels — have struggled with substance abuse.
Recently, a new book, part memoir, part guide to recovery from this disease, was published. It contains thoughtful insite about the issue for all  thos affected: the alcoholic or addict, his or her spouse, parents, siblings and employers. The book is titled “Beautiful Boy” and is a father’s perspective and experience when dealig with his drug addicted son as reviewed in the New York Times.


Not all funds affect child support

Posted by Attorney Bruce Watson

In Massachusetts, child support is typically based on a spouse’s income…but not all the money that a spouse happens to receive counts as “income.”

For instance, an ex-wife owned 20 percent of a family corporation. When she and her husband divorced, she got custody of their three children and the husband was ordered to pay child support.

Later, the corporation decided to distribute a large amount of funds to the owners so they could transfer them to a new business entity that would lend money to the corporation. As a result, the wife received $2.7 million in distributions, and immediately transferred them to the new entity.

The husband argued that this was “income” to the wife, and since she had so much income, he shouldn’t have to pay as much in child support. [Read more…]

Adultery and Divorce Law in Massachusetts

Posted by Attorney Bruce Watson

Adultery is still a criminal offense in Massachusetts, although prosecution of such a crime is exceedingly rare, and its use in divorce proceedings has fallen into disfavor.  Nevertheless, an allegation of adultery may affect child custodial arrangements and is a development in a divorce proceeding to be taken seriously.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272, Section 14 provides that:
“A married person who has sexual intercourse with a person not his spouse or an unmarried person who has sexual intercourse with a married person shall be guilty of adultery and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in jail for not more than two years or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.”  This crime is a Concurrent Felony: that is, a judge may sentence the defendant to the county jail for up to two years, or to the state prison for up to three years. It is the state prison portion of the potential sentence that makes the crime a Felony. [Read more…]

Snooping on your spouse may be illegal and get you arrested

More and more spouses who are thinking about divorce, or who are going through the divorce process, are snooping on the other spouse. They’re looking for evidence of adultery, hidden assets, bad parenting, or other information that might give them a leg up in a divorce or custody proceeding.

“Snooping” covers a wide range of activities. For instance, it could include accessing a spouse’s private e-mail or social-networking account, looking in a spouse’s smartphone for suspicious phone numbers or texts, or digging through his or her web search history.

Some spouses have been known to use methods that are more technologically sophisticated. These can include installing key-logging software on a computer that tracks every keystroke a spouse makes, setting up hidden cameras or recorders, attaching a GPS device to a spouse’s car, or even swapping out a spouse’s GPS device with a similar-looking device that transmits pictures of where the car goes and who’s in the passenger seat. [Read more…]

Divorce Rate for Boston Metrosouth and Boston Metrowest

The Boston metro-west part of Middlesex County, and all of Norfolk County, and the suburban neighborhoods of Boston, and the northern cities and towns of Plymouth County form the Metro-south and Metro-west suburban regions of Boston.

These cities, towns and neighborhoods contain about 1.7 million people. The so-called “crude” divorce rate, which looks at the number of divorces per year measured against the total Massachusetts population, is 2.5 per thousand people according to the US government.  In other words, one measuring stick says that there are about 4,250 divorces per year in the Metro-south and Metro-west suburbs.

But consider how many people are married in the same two regions. About 79% of the 1.7 million people in the two regions are adults, and about 51% of all adults are married. So there are about 340,000 married couples in the two suburban regions. Additionally, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York ranked among the lowest in divorces.

Additionally, couples are now cohabitating and not getting formally married.
A Report published about ten years ago found that unmarried cohabitations overall are less stable than marriages.  The probability of a first marriage ending in separation or divorce within 5 years is 20 percent, but the probability of a premarital cohabitation breaking up within 5 years is 49 percent. After 10 years, the probability of a first marriage ending is 33 percent, compared with 62 percent for cohabitations.

And what about remarriage? You might be thinking, “No way”, but the same study  says that the probability of remarriage among divorced women was 54 percent in 5 years–58 percent for white women, 44 percent for Hispanic women, and 32 percent for black women.  However, there was also a strong probability that 2nd marriages will end in separation or divorce (23 percent after 5 years and 39 percent after 10 years).  And most interesting, the likelihood of remarriage for women has been declining since the 1970s.

If you are considering divorce in the Boston Metrosouth or Metrowest region, please contact Attorney Bruce Watson to learn your options.