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Massachusetts Family Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Massachusetts on
Q: Do i need a discovery if I am representing myself in family court?

I am trying to gain full legal and physical custody of my two kids but will be representing myself with the documents I have.

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Jan 18, 2022

You are not required to conduct discovery, but it is advisable in order to obtain information which may be evidence at the trial of this matter.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Support for Massachusetts on
Q: Can an unmarried mother of two children request retroactive child support when initially filing for child support?

Seeking retroactive child support back to the date the kids and I moved out. (4-5 years ago). We were never married and he is the father- on the birth certificate of both children.

This is a new child support request. We previously had a verbal agreement for weekly payments that he has not... Read more »

Brian Waller
Brian Waller
answered on Jan 11, 2022

Usually, a retroactive order can only go back as far as the date the opposing party was served with the complaint for child support. If there has never been an order previously, you may have the ability to argue for retroactive support back to the child's date of birth, but it would depend if... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Child Custody, Child Support and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Do I have to provide information to my child’s father if he hasn’t been in their life for over 6years?

My child’s father has not been in their life for over 6years. During that time I have had them full time with no help from him in any way. He does not pay any child support. He does call about once a month. Recently he has been asking for their information everything from school/medical records... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Dec 31, 2021

There sounds like a lack of relationship over a lengthy period of time and the Court is sensitive to the effect of father's suddenly attempting to regain contact where there had been no regularity. Asking for contact information about other people is indeed odd and really not your information... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: asking for my daughter who is in a bad situation in a marriage with a 2 year old and cannot afford a lawyer

not sure if this question got through previously but my daughter is in a very emotionally abusive situation with a husband of almost 6 years that has complete control over all assets and resources and has a young girlfriend that he stays with during the week in another part of MA. Since everything... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Dec 23, 2021

There are pro bono attorneys such as through the Volunteer Lawyers project of the Boston Bar Association and the major law schools have law clinics which may be a route. She has obvioulsy rights not to be abused and there would be child support orders for the child. If this is a brief marriage... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: If I have full custody of my child but she visits her mom on the weekends do I need her permission to move out of state

My child is 12 now I've had custody since 2014 mom lost custody for not complying with dcf. I would like to move out of state and change her visitations to the summers every other holiday and school vacation is this possible?

Kim Carnevale
Kim Carnevale
answered on Oct 12, 2021

Even though you have custody as a result of a DCF case, you would still need to get the permission of the Probate and Family court before you could move out of state with your child if MA removal laws apply. MA law requires you to get permission-

IF your child was born in MA or has lived...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law, Immigration Law and Federal Crimes for Massachusetts on
Q: 2 years ago, my friend married a guy but he's using her for the green card. How can I report him anonymously?

This guy is from Haiti. He has been staying on the tourist visa and he seduced my friend to married him. He has a kid with her now: a 2 years old daughter.

Kevin L Dixler
Kevin L Dixler
answered on Oct 3, 2021

More information is needed, but it cannot come from her. You have no affirmative duty nor direct evidence of fraud by the husband! Strangely, you ‘may know’ more incriminating facts about her!

It reads more like, she ‘seems to want’ out of a marital relationship that appears to...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Massachusetts on
Q: Does a lawyer have to file a notice of appearance before a court date?

Can someone just show up to court with a lawyer that they previously did not have?

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

Basically you can hire counsel as long as you find one who will take your case. Occasionally counsel is brought in late in the proceedings and asks for a Continuance which the Court can allow. This may be the concern you have- delay of the proceedings. Occasionally counsel brought in may have a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Adoption and Child Custody for Massachusetts on
Q: Does a reliquish of rights go I to affect the day it was signed. It was done in front of a notary public and witnesses

It is stamped, signed and dated and filed into court

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Sep 15, 2021

It has to be filed with the Court and acted upon to take effect. If you have second thoughts you really should have counsel represent you!!

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Massachusetts on
Q: My mother has court ordered visits of one of my daughters, with the rise of Covid again, I'm not comfortable with it

They have 2 grown children who also live in MA and visit them almost daily, but my mother lives in RI. They aren't cautious, but I don't want to be held in contempt. I've offered video calls and outdoor visits, they won't budge. How do I keep my foot down?

Kimberly Erwin
Kimberly Erwin
answered on Sep 12, 2021

I don’t know that you can. If the court order was entered after the start of the pandemic, you most likely need to allow visits. If it was entered previous to the pandemic, I would suggest requesting masks (as well as your other requests) be worn in writing. If they refuse, I would document the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law, Child Custody and Child Support for Massachusetts on
Q: am I entitled to half our house if bought 5 months before wedding?

We have been a couple for 20 years, married 14 years. We lived together for 5 years prior to buying a house 5 months before our wedding. The house was initially in his name because he had better credit at the time. We refinanced recently and I am secondary on the mortgage. Am I entitled to half?

Anthony C. Adamopoulos
Anthony C. Adamopoulos
answered on Aug 26, 2021

Maybe, it depends on all of the factors surrounding your divorce and living together prior to marriage. The Judge must consider about 15 factors then decide what an equitable division of all the assets would be.

You want to consult with an experience divorce attorney who will review the...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Can I get a lawyer for my 13 year old daughter concerning child custody and her not wanting to see her father?
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa
answered on Aug 17, 2021

Your counsel can file a Motion requesting the appointment of counsel for the child. The Court may also determine to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to investigate and report to the Court concerning the best interests of the child in custody and visitation matters.

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 »

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