Fitch Law Partners LLP
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Posts tagged "marital estate"

It's Not Over Till It's Over: Assets Earned After Service Of Divorce Complaint Are Included In The "Marital Estate"

From a legal perspective, getting hitched in Massachusetts is fairly quick and simple, requiring little more than a valid marriage license and a proper officiant.  It is not even necessary to be wed by a clergy member or Justice of the Peace, as anyone over the age of 18 in reasonably good character can receive a one-day designation to solemnize the marriage.  Divorce, on the other hand, is rarely if ever as easy or efficient, and contested proceedings take months and even years to finalize.

Motion for Counsel Fees Pendente Lite

All clients involved in litigation need money to pay their counsel's legal bills, which include the initial retainer fee, fees incurred during the pendency of the litigation, and often replenishing the retainer fee.  A client obtaining a divorce, however, has a unique problem in that they are precluded from dissipating marital assets -- i.e., using marital assets for their own use when the marriage is coming to an end and with the intent of depriving the other spouse of his or her fair share of the marital estate.  Although the payment of reasonable counsel fees is not a violation of the automatic financial restraining order under Rule 411, even in the absence of a motion for counsel fees pendente lite, using joint marital assets to pay one party's counsel's fees reduces the total amount of the marital estate, thereby depriving the other spouse of their fair share of equitable distribution of all marital assets at the conclusion of the case.

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