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Massachusetts Family Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Massachusetts on
Q: I am looking for a pro bono lawyer to represent my 15 year old. She would like to live with me full time. Thank you

About three years ago my ex husband suffered three ischemic strokes which altered him. I was a stay at home mom for 13 years and one day come home to being kicked out, he retained a lawyer, I was left powerless. I lost custody of my kids after a long battle I couldnt win. It took a long emotional... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jul 21, 2021

Since your 15 year old has been with you and apparently wants to stay with you , this is a Modification of custody complaint which you would be bringing. At 15 your child would have a voice about her primary residence and would still have visitation with father. It is unfortunate that you have not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Domestic Violence, Family Law and Child Custody for Massachusetts on
Q: Can family judges be changed? Are children supposed to be removed when their parent has a restraining order on them?

I've had the same biased judge since 2013 who is never on my side despite the evidence. I filed an ex parte hearing due to my 15 year old daughter's father almost killing his wife by strangulation. The wife has a restraining order on him. I arrived with police to witness the father, wife,... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jul 7, 2021

The Court assigns the Judges usually by docket number and unless there is a reason for the Judge to recuse, it is very difficult to change the Judge assigned. If your 15 year old is unsafe or unhappy due to what is occurring with her father and his household, then you can seek a Modification and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody, Child Support and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: The father of my child doesn't pay child support and he is also not on the birth certificate.

He has never met his child and we have had zero contact. I am just curious as to what some of my options might be going forward.

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jun 21, 2021

You can commence a Paternity action and seek support orders; both parties have the duty to support their child and if there are public benefits involved, the government has the ability to go forward to seek paternity adjudication regardless of whether you are interested in pursuing the matter.

2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Civil Litigation for Massachusetts on
Q: What if I filed a complaint but no answers have come in and it is 35 days now. What do I do now?
Anthony C. Adamopoulos
Anthony C. Adamopoulos answered on Jun 7, 2021

Assuming you are talking about divorce, "filing a complaint" is not enough to get what you call "answers" and the Rules call "Defendant's Answer".

Have you received and served, according to the Rules, a Summons?

It looks like you are not prepared...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Massachusetts on
Q: If divorced parents were approved to withhold child support, can a support order be modified saying they did not pay?

If there is a uniform support order, and divorce was mediated and both parents waived having one pay child support, with notations by the Judge in the order, can another person modify the order stating that the parent didn't ever pay child support? The parent who supported is deceased.

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Jun 2, 2021

This is a very confusing question , particularly if a Modification is being sought against an estate? If there is not an order of child support, is there an order relative to life insurance?

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Massachusetts on
Q: my boyfriend is 19 and he is having a hard time with his mom who wants to send him back to PR with his dad can he decide

his mom wants to send him to his father whom did not treat him well as a child, he is 19 going to 20 in june will he have a day in this?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Apr 13, 2021

Unless he is under guardianship due to disability, he is an adult and can live elsewhere.

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody, Divorce and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a child request a custody change if they feel they are being mentally abused?

I have split parents, they have been divorced since I was 5. My mother has been abusing me mentally. I know this always gets over looked as the child overreacting but this isn’t some joke. My parents have equal custody, can I request to live with my good parent?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Apr 8, 2021

If you are being mentally abused, have you told a Mandated Reporter such as a pediatrician , social worker, mental health counselor, psychologist, or school guidance counselor or school official or DCF hotline # about this matter and the underlying facts which constitute mental abuse? Is the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Adoption and Child Custody for Massachusetts on
Q: My sister adopted my daughter because dcyf involvement five years ago. Today me and her want to reverse it. Any help

We want my child back with me we are looking for a lawyer to help us reverse it.

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Apr 8, 2021

This would probably be a new adoption petition. An adoption practitioner can go over all of your unique facts.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Domestic Violence and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: I was accused of drug use with zero history of drug usage. In family and probate. Pat.g. Parents. Are temp gaurdians

My son and I were physically assaulted by my now ex. My sons father. He is being charged with 3 counts a&b and 2 counts suffocation/strangulation. He was bonded on $5000 bail, plus gps and zero contact with myself and our son. He was found to be a danger. After this transpired, my decade long... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Apr 7, 2021

If you are seeking custody of the child and opposing guardianship of paternal grandmother then you should engage counsel to represent you if you are able to do so. In contesting guardianship an indigent parent can have court appointed counsel via motion to the court requesting same. The is random... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Massachusetts on
Q: Can my son's biological dad go to court for rights and visitation if he isn't in my son's birth certificate?

He never wanted the baby, then i got married and my husband recognized my son as his own, so legally my husband is my son's dad.

Brian Waller
Brian Waller answered on Apr 2, 2021

If by legally you mean that your husband adopted your son and your husband's name is on the birth certificate, I don't think the biological father can do anything because he would have been notified about the adoption. If your husband isn't on the birth certificate then the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law, Family Law, Child Custody and Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: I asked a hair follicle drug test question prior

Recently my son and myself were assaulted by me ex. He was arrested. Found to be a danger. Zero contact with myself and son. Paternal g.parents have temp. Guardianship. She filed for an emergency hearing accusing me of drug abuse. She received this information from her son, my abuser. I feel like... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Mar 29, 2021

Have you counsel representing you ? If not , you have a right to counsel and if you are indigent or believe you are indigent the Court will appoint counsel to represent you, but you need to file a Motion for Appointment of Counsel and you should also consider requesting random screening as the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Do I have to submit hair follicle test without prior drug abuse history? These allegations came from parents of my abuse

Paternal g.parents have temp. Guardianship. They accused me of drug abuse for the first time out of 3 or 4 previous hearings. I have never been in trouble or in treatment for drug abuse. The court ordered hair follicle testing. G. Parents have zero proof. My ex claimed on the day of the assault I... Read more »

Brian Waller
Brian Waller answered on Mar 28, 2021

If you have no history of drug abuse you should just take the hair follicle and then you eliminate that as an issue that can be used in your case. If you are trying to avoid the hair follicle because of what it will show, then there isn't really much you can do if it was already ordered. If... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: How much trouble could my mom get in for being abusive?

My mom's is somewhat physically abusive, extremely emotionally/ mentally abusive (example: threatening suicide) and also threatens me and my brother a lot (example: "I'm gonna slit your throat and watch you bleed"). She has also denied me food and various occasions, punished me... Read more »

Kimberly Winslow
Kimberly Winslow answered on Mar 15, 2021

Are you a minor? You can talk to a trusted teacher or guidance counselor at school. Another option would be to self-report to the Department of Children and Families by calling 508-910-1000. More information is available here:... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Adoption and Child Custody for Massachusetts on
Q: How can I prove abandonment of child and terminate rights of biological father? He's been gone over 4 years.

My now husband wants to adopt. Bio Father has been in and out of jail over last 10 years for years at a time. Never paid child support.. We live in Massachusetts.

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Mar 4, 2021

I take it you have already explored whether he would voluntarily consent to adoption by stepfather? This is the easiest method to proceed. Otherwise there would need to be either a default on a petition or a trial establishing unfitness of bio father with an adjudication.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: I want to get to visit mY son. And i wanted to know how i could get the ball rolling. What would i have to do ?

Is there a way i can do this or get visits quick and not have to get a lawyer? Or a lawyer is necessary

Brian Waller
Brian Waller answered on Mar 1, 2021

There is nothing in Probate and Family Court that you absolutely need an attorney for, many people represent themselves. In your situation, you may want to speak with an attorney or even DCF (depending on why there are no visits currently) to understand what you can do to get you closer to having... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law and Child Custody for Massachusetts on
Q: Can a joint custodial parent veto a particular child therapist?

I share joint 50/50 legal custody of my 5 yr old child w my ex. Our agreement was filed w the court in 2017. My ex would like a therapist (who has not yet met our child but has shown bias against me as a non-birth mom) to start seeing our child every other week for therapy. Our current child... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Feb 24, 2021

You should request a therapist referral from the provider who is leaving for a successor therapist. Both parents should have input for the new provider. If the other parent refuses and there is a proceeding pending or if there is not a proceeding one would need to be brought- for Modification... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Have two family members refusing to sell a property and leaving spouse without money. What can we do?

I know that in the state of MA the spouse is to get everything but this has gone on long enough and we need help asap

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Feb 19, 2021

If real estate is held in common, a petition to partition is needed. In divorce there is property division and this is a distinction. In a divorce all assets regardless of how held are considered marital property to be divided and not the sole property of a spouse until or unless the Court so... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Domestic Violence for Massachusetts on
Q: unable to see evidence before trial.

I recently had a trial for custody and ended up loosing based on false information. My ex, who abused me utilized DCF to hurt me. the power of DCF is so strong that regardless of my therapist saying: "I never seen anything like it. The poor girl had no chance no matter what she did." My... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Feb 11, 2021

It is likely that an appeal would not be successful as the judge is the fact finder and assesses credibility. It is possible that remaining in an abusive relationship was neglectful. You do not state whether you have any issues or what the DCF found as a result of their involvement with your family... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: I had to file contempt for my ex to provide his financial statement. He has yet to do so. What’s the next step for me?

A week has past since the contempt hearing where the judge verbally told him to provide this info to me.

Brian Waller
Brian Waller answered on Feb 10, 2021

In my experience, judges don't have a lot of patience for things that aren't a good use of their time, like having a hearing that doesn't accomplish anything because one party hasn't provided info they were supposed to provide. Judges have a lot of discretion in how they handle... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law, Tax Law and Child Support for Massachusetts on
Q: Can owner change her S-Corp to be taxed as C-corp so her income for support will be lower based on W2 only in divorce?

She is paying high alimony & child support now due to high income from W2 + K1( from business income reported on her tax return). Is it legal for her to change her S corp to C-corp so her future income from C corp will be far lower that is based on W2 only? Her company is growing and needs to... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Feb 9, 2021

It depends upon the terms of the Separation Agreement/Divorce Judgment and the Judge's perspective on the level of income available for alimony and child support.

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