Attorney McKenna’s main concentration is divorce practice. Married couples seeking to dissolve their marriage must separate their lives to become individuals living separately. Couples face the difficult task of turning one household into two. This places a substantial economic strain on even the most affluent families, and often raises difficult issues relative to the children. Attorney McKenna assists her clients every step of the way.
First, there are the initial challenges of separation, including determining who stays in the marital home and who moves out, how to deal with circumstances where both parties insist on staying in the marital home, domestic violence issues, and economic issues, such as, how can one party afford to move out into his or her own home, and how can one party maintain the marital home all on his or her own.
Next, once the parties are separated, if there are children of the marriage, the parties must establish a parenting plan (new terminology that has replaced the antiquated term, “visitation schedule”). Sometimes this issue is the main area conflict of the parties, and involves emotionally charged issues. Attorney McKenna handles even the most sensitive topics with empathy and advocacy, so that the client feels comfortable and assured during these stressful times. Attorney McKenna also has experience as an Attorney for the Hampden County Children’s Law Project, where she is appointed by the Court to represent the interests of children in divorce and custody matters, thus affording her the unique perspective of the child.
Support issues must also be addressed. Child support, the child support guidelines, deviations from those guidelines, and alimony (spousal support) are all addressed, and Attorney McKenna will educate the client on each aspect of these support issues. For example, many clients do not understand that typically, child support and alimony will not be paid at the same time, unless the parties together earn more than $250,000 annually, or, if there is a unique set of circumstances supporting a blended order of child support and alimony, for tax benefits to the payor. Attorney McKenna spends a great deal of time assisting the client with his or her financial statement,to ensure it is thorough and completely accurate.
The parties must also divide their assets and debts. Attorney McKenna will assist the client in identifying and valuating all assets, marital and non-marital, sometimes with the use of forensic experts, accountants, and appraisers. Then, the parties will review the marital assets as a whole, and work toward determining an equitable, fair division of the assets. The factors in determining asset division include, length of the marriage, contribution of each of the parties toward the acquisition, maintenance, and growth of the assets, health and education of the parties, the employability of each party and their respective ability to acquire future assets after divorce, and their respective contributions to the martial household. Debts are determined with similar factors in mind, and a review of the origin of said debt may often be required.
Other issues addressed in divorce include: health insurance coverage for spouse and children, payment of uninsured medical expenses, payment of extra-curricular activities of the children, payment of college tuition for children, suspension of parenting time, drug and alcohol abuse, removal of the children to another state, domestic violence, attribution of income to a spouse who is under-employed, valuation of businesses owned by the parties, determination of true income of self-employed spouses, and economic misconduct.