family law

Can I Change My Original Divorce Agreement?

There are two ways to request modifications to your original divorce agreement and/or subsequent Judgments entered by the Court. The first method, if the requested change is mutually agreed upon, is by filing a Joint Petition to Modify a Prior Judgment, along with your executed agreement for judgment. To the extent that the requested change involves financial matters, both parties will be required to complete and file updated financial statements with the court. The second method, if the requested change is not agreed upon, is facilitated by the filing of a complaint for modification with the court. Once the summons is received from the Court, a copy of the summons

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What does it mean to be “held in contempt” by the court?

Contempt is a tool used by Probate and Family Courts to enforce compliance with court orders. In the event one party is not following a court-appointed order, the other party can file a Complaint for Contempt with the court. This process requires the initiating party to show that the other party (the defendant) is in willful violation of a clear and unequivocal order. Someone who violates or disobeys a court order risks being held in contempt by the court. Such violations may include failing to pay alimony or child support or refusal to comply with a parenting schedule ordered by the court. To the extent that a party is adjudicated

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What to do when your ex refuses to comply with your parenting schedule?

Once you’ve completed the process of going through a divorce, settling on child support, and agreeing to a parenting schedule, you’d think you can finally move forward and start your new life. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. When you’re facing the frustrating reality that your ex simply won’t comply with your legally binding agreements, whether that be alimony payments or a parenting schedule, you have options. Massachusetts residents can file a complaint for contempt to address non-compliance with temporary orders and final judgments. Understanding the ins and out of contempt proceedings is an essential part of litigation in the Probate and Family Court, which is why working with an

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Out of State Child Support Modification

Child Support and Out-of-State Issues Whether one parent is living just over the Massachusetts border in New Hampshire but still commutes to Boston every day, or whether the one parent is living on the West Coast while the children live with the other on the South Shore, issues of state jurisdiction may come into play when seeking to modify a Massachusetts child support agreement. Changing Circumstances, Modifying Orders In Massachusetts, child support is governed either by temporary orders or by final judgments. Temporary orders govern the terms of child support while there is still open legal action in process to establish a final judgment. The term “final judgment” is something of a misnomer. “Final” does not mean that the judgment can never be altered again. A child support final

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How can I establish paternity if my child’s mother is married to someone else?

A father petitioning for paternity needs to have a full understanding of the legal process. Fathers who are unmarried in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can establish paternity in two ways. The first route is a voluntary process that utilizes a form known as a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Parentage. This is a document signed by both the child’s mother and father, confirming the singing male is the legal father. This form is typically presented to the parents at the hospital when the child is born. The second route is through an involuntary process, which involves filing a complaint to establish paternity. However, if the mother was married to someone else when

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Divorce When Only One Partner Lives in Massachusetts

Many married couples live separately, even across state lines, for reasons which have nothing to do with the health of their marriage. However, when living across state lines from each other, couples may find their marriage at a crossroads and begin considering divorce. Perhaps distance has created serious problem in the relationship or laid bare preexisting problems. Perhaps one partner has moved away, even across state lines, as part of a trial separation. Or perhaps a history of domestic violence and a need for safety has compelled one spouse to put considerable distance between his or her person and the other spouse. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt life,

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Get the Facts About Parental Rights, Paternity Testing, and Child Support

As far as the Massachusetts courts are concerned, both mothers and fathers have legal rights and obligations when it comes to children. However, a child born to unmarried parents doesn’t automatically have a legal father. The mother is given sole legal and physical custody until paternity is established. For married couples, the husband is presumed to be the biological father and is responsible for financial obligations. As a presumed father, if you believe you are not the biological father, meeting with an attorney to rebut presumed paternity is a time-sensitive matter and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. In order for an unmarried biological father to be established,

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If my ex purchased our marital home before we were married, can I request the house as part of my divorce settlement?

The simple answer is yes, you can request the marital home as part of your divorce settlement. However, divorcing couples may request specific assets during the division of property, but that doesn’t mean their request will be awarded. Massachusetts law requires the division of property in a divorce to be equitable. This means property division must be fair, though not necessarily equal. Massachusetts law allows a judge to divide all property regardless of when it was acquired or which spouse actually owns it. When dividing assets, such as property, a judge will consider the length of the marriage, the present and future needs of any dependent children, each spouse’s income

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Am I Allowed to Date if My Divorce is Pending?

Divorce can be a lengthy process, and for many divorcing couples, the marriage is over emotionally long before a divorce is legally pursued. It’s not uncommon for a spouse to consider dating while their divorce is pending. The short answer to the question ‘to date or not to date’ is that there is no law in Massachusetts that prevents spouses from dating after separating or divorcing. So yes, you are allowed to date when your divorce is pending. However, before diving into the dating pool, you should be aware of the potential legal and financial consequences. Keep in mind, under the law, you are considered to be legally married until

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What is co-parenting, and how do we do it once we are divorced?

Co-parenting describes a parenting relationship in which the two parents of a child are not romantically involved but still assume joint responsibility for their child’s upbringing. The extent to which parents can effectively co-parent significantly impacts how children will adjust to the transitions associated with a separation or divorce. Parents are responsible for major-life decisions, like those concerning religion, discipline, finances, morality, recreation, physical health, education, and emergencies. Whether married or divorced, agreement on these matters can differ but should be discussed and made jointly. It’s not uncommon for parents to be uncooperative with one another during a divorce. This usually stems from hurt feelings or unresolved anger, grief, or

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