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Massachusetts Domestic Violence Questions & Answers
Q: How do I go about filing an appeal on DCF? I am involved in case on which I am NOT the supported person of neglect.

Domestic violence with my children's father, in which I am the victim, have landed DCF in my life for the third time.

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jul 6, 2020

This is actually an area of specialization. However, briefly, if you are within 30 days of the supported finding of abuse or neglect you can ask for a fair hearing and if the finding is adverse at the fair hearing, then the Superior Court would be involved if an appropriate appeal of the hearing... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody, Constitutional Law and Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: How would I go about filing a lawsuit for parental alienation against my daughter's father and his wife?

Also, how would I find out if my daughter has a lawyer? Any information you can give is greatly appreciated. What steps should I take? I haven't seen her since February when we had a wonderful relationship. I already proved drug allegations to be false in court. They are making false... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jun 4, 2020

Is there a Modification petition pending? Has your visitation been limited by any Court Order? If not you may file a Modification Complaint of your own if the circumstances have changed materailly since your prior orders. You could check the docket on line to see whether counsel for the child was... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: I have a restraining order against my husband in Massachusetts. Can I relocate to New Hampshire with our son?
Lissa McKinney
Lissa McKinney answered on Apr 15, 2020

Maybe. If you have been to any Probate & Family Court with your child then MA has jurisdiction ( Paternity action, child support action, divorce) you can't leave the state without permission from the Probate COurt. If you do it anyway, you may be ordered to do all the riving so the other... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody, Domestic Violence and Health Care Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Will the Judge in Family Probate, still require me to take a drug test if I prove I'm being falsely accused?

My daughter's father is falsely accusing me of using drugs and/or improperly using drugs. He's requesting I take a hair follicle test but I have evidence to prove that. How would I go about filing for slander, disobeying court orders and being falsely accused? Also, I entered a... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Mar 12, 2020

Usually random drug screens through the Court's probation department provider would be ordered where there is such an accusation. If you are willing to do so you can also ask the Court to have father so screened. The focus should be on establishing that you are not abusing drugs and are able... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: Will my sons father do jail time for a second time for a second offense against me in Massachusetts?
Lissa McKinney
Lissa McKinney answered on Feb 15, 2020

Your question just cannot be answered as it has too little factual information. Was he on probation for the 1st when the 2d happened? are you on board with the prosecution or not planning to testify? Are there photos/medical/hospital reports? Generally the more serious any injury impacts the case... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Domestic Violence and Libel & Slander for Massachusetts on
Q: Lots of resources for physical abuse, but what options do I have for psychological / legal abuse, slander & harassment?

Physical abuse victims have many resources, but what about those being harassed, slandered, stalked & tormented by a malicious sociopath? Sociopaths strategically execute their schemes covertly, staying “under the radar” which keeps them just inside the law so they avoid exposure &... Read more »

William Barabino
William Barabino answered on Feb 7, 2020

Dear Questioner,

Thank you for your question.

Without knowing more specifics about your situation, I cannot give you direct legal guidance, but I would say that one option that may be available to you in Massachusetts is obtaining a Chapter 258A or Harassment Prevention order....
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1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: Boyfriend is in litigation with an old business partner/girlfriend. She was granted an order of protection against him.

FB still showed him in a relationship with their original anniversary date. Her name did not show as they were no longer friends. He thought he could just update the anniversary date to when we met, which he did. For some reason FB tagged her in it & updated the relationship status as them... Read more »

William D. Kickham Esq.
William D. Kickham Esq. answered on Sep 16, 2019

I'm surprised that your question says that "His attorneys are making it sound like he has no chance". It's not clear to me if those attorneys are licensed in AZ or MA, but my professional opinion - based on the information you've provided above - is that the person has a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Personal Injury and Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: Mental Anguish

I am a female who was involved in an abusive relationship for 7 months in Massachusetts in 2012. Because of the relationship I became severely mentally ill and am still ill and receiving Social Security disability. I've been unable to work full time since 2013. Would I be able to file a... Read more »

Karen Piso Nadeau
Karen Piso Nadeau answered on Aug 14, 2019

I am sorry for your terrible situation. I assume this abuse happened while you were age 18 or over. Unfortunately, I believe the statute of limitations would bar any claims you may have. Typically, you have three years from the time of the incident to bring a lawsuit. The time has likely passed... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: Did husband violate restraining order by locking me out of our buisness banking account and preventing doing my job?Ma.

I live in Massachusetts. Iam about to file for divorce.he is narcissist sociopath/bipolar (reason for restraining order w/o too much detail)

Lissa McKinney
Lissa McKinney answered on Aug 1, 2019

Whether he is in violation depends on the wording on the restraining order, and what is said regarding the business. If it was silent as to the business address then he can be there. If it said he could not go to the business property and whatever he did was online, he is probably OK. Once a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody, Domestic Violence and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: what do i do in regards to getting 70/30 (70 me 30 him) custody of daughter and father is abusive

My daughters father is very ignorant towards me and refused to let me have my daughter on a court ordered visit and is using full custody to tell me when I can see my daughter

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on May 20, 2019

It sounds like there is a Contempt of a visitation order in which case you can file a Contempt Complaint at the Court where the adjudication of Paternity or Custody and Support Complaint Orders were issued from.

2 Answers | Asked in Divorce, Domestic Violence and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Does the domestic violence victim have the right to meet with a judge to file a legal complaint against their spouse?

Good friend in Massachusetts is the spouse and husband in a domestic violent relationship. Recently asked for divorce in a 22 yr marriage, 4 kids (1 left in the house age 13) and the spouse is physically and emotionally abused. Recently unemployed, and wife does not work. Since asking for... Read more »

Lissa McKinney
Lissa McKinney answered on Apr 28, 2019

No- he does not have any right to meet with a judge privately if that is what you mean. He also needs to proceed very carefully documenting the wifes abuse and outbursts too as in 2 seconds she will turn it around on him and claim he has abused her. And it is likely when a woman claims abuse that... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: How deep do dv defense lawyers look into witnesses, current employment, detailed background, credit checks?

How far into the witness do you look and do you share any details from those three with your clients?

Such as

places of work

Credit history or report

Detailed background information like previous addresses or anything like that

Dakota Martin
Dakota Martin answered on Apr 4, 2019

DV as in domestic violence? It really depends on how serious the case is. In many cases, the search is simply asking the court to run a witness's record. No record, no further search. If the accused knows areas that should be investigated, defense attorneys have a duty to investigate... or... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: Is a R.I Family Court Judge obligated to hear a child abuse case ?
Lissa McKinney
Lissa McKinney answered on Feb 26, 2019

Whether RI is required to hear it is a question of RI law and procedure, and you have posted to Massachusetts lawyers.

However, if this were a MA case the answer is no- not necessarily. The Court would hear cases brought in front of it by DCF or the District Attorney as a matter of course....
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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: I am going through a divorce. I can't afford a lawyer or qualify for a free one I am 61 years old. Do I need a lawyer?

Of course no children. No home. Only tax debt. $20,000. I qualify for tax relief, he does not. Is this debt automatically split 50/50?

The document has alimony checked off.

We are both on disability and currently earn about the same. I am in the apartment and paying all the bills.... Read more »

Christine G. DeBernardis
Christine G. DeBernardis answered on Jan 31, 2019

You can certainly proceed without counsel. If you cannot afford an attorney, check with your local court to see if they have an "attorney for the day" program or legal aid to assist.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a victim be forced to testify
Lissa McKinney
Lissa McKinney answered on Oct 30, 2018

In some situations a victim can be forcecd to testify. You may assert your right not to testify if you have a 5th Amendment Right not to incriminate yourself as to any crime, including perjury in the charges, drug abuse etc. If you are married to the alleged abuser, you can assert marital... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: My boyfriend was arrested for Domestic assault and battery. He did not touch me. Will the case get dismissed.
Lissa McKinney
Lissa McKinney answered on Sep 13, 2018

Whether the case gets dismissed or not largely depends on the evidence, not just on whether you testify or not. There are many factors such as if/who made the 911 call. The 911 call may be admissible under certain circumstances, based on case law. Did the police enter the home and take pictures... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: Girlfriend's ex is becoming harassing, threatening and also stalking. Need advice what steps to take.

Ex is living in another state. He hasn't seen his kids for 5 years, didn't pay child support for the past year, didn't call, nothing. Filed for summer custody - judge basically laughed at him, allowed him (1) 30 minute phone call each day and 1 text to his ex per day to ask about... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on May 3, 2018

It sounds like the children's father is in contempt of the "visitation" order by using his texts to do other than discuss the children so mother should bring a Contempt Complaint and also a Modification complaint seeking to terminate the contacts to her. If they threaten her life... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Domestic Violence and Small Claims for Massachusetts on
Q: Would I be able to take my ex to court and win the case?

Back in October I had my ex boyfriend arrested for domestic violence. We had an apartment together but now he is legally not allowed here even tho his name is on the lease because I got a restraining order put on him. I’m severely struggling financially due to the fact that I was used to 2... Read more »

John Espinosa
John Espinosa answered on May 1, 2018

You could file a small claims case in housing court https://www.mass.gov/service-details/small-claims-in-housing-court

Here is some info about utility shutoffs https://www.masslegalhelp.org/housing/lt1-chapter-6-protections-against-shut-offs

For more help try calling legal aid in...
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1 Answer | Asked in Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a no contact order be filed between me and another person on my behalf if I didn't consent

My partner was arrested and they were told there's a no contact order but I never filed one could there still be one and when would I be served.

Lissa McKinney
Lissa McKinney answered on Apr 11, 2018

If you were involved in the arrest of your partner as a witness or complainant, then at his arraignment the Commonwealth requested a no contact order on your behalf. If you did not request it, or they did not speak to you about this at all, you may want to call the local Office of the District... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Domestic Violence and Criminal Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Is it legal for a husband to search through his wife's phone?
Lissa McKinney
Lissa McKinney answered on Apr 11, 2018

There are no laws that make it illegal per se, unless he hacked into it and committed a cyber crime. There are many variables in play here otherwise. That might depend on who holds the account for the phone, who purchased it, and whether any family funds paid the bill for it; or whether it was... Read more »

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