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Massachusetts Family Law Questions & Answers
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.

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law and Child Support for Massachusetts on
Q: should i give my ex my child stimulus I receive because I claim one of our children and she claim one ?

she is the custodial parent and i am not late on child support

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Feb 5, 2021

It depends upon the wording of your separation agreement/Divorce Judgment if you are divorced or temporary orders if there is not a final resolution . If the document is truly silent then not required to do so.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Hello. Just wondering if a male is issued a summons to appear in court for non payment of allimony and yes it was court

If someone was served to appear in court for non payment of alimony and yes it was court ordered and he does not show can a warrant be issued for his arrest or could the do something with his electrical license?

Brian Waller
Brian Waller answered on Jan 13, 2021

If he doesn't appear for court the judge can issue a capias (basically a warrant) to have him brought before the Court by a sheriff. There are a lot of things that could happen as a remedy for the person that was supposed to receive the alimony, like the assignment of wages. Civil contempt... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: My fiancé’s ex-partner filed a counter claim to him filing a child custody complaint. Can we also file a counter claim?

We can’t currently afford a lawyer but filed a custody complaint because my fiancé had the child 80% of the time up until two years ago when the child started school. She promptly decided she was going to have the child 80% and told him that he was allowed every other weekend. It has affected... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Dec 29, 2020

Was there a prior paternity action or acknowledgment ? Is the MDOR involved ? Is DCF involved? If your fiance has filed a custody and support complaint and received a counterclaim I am unsure of what other action you are contemplating.

1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: A restraining order hearing against my wife and daughter was extended for six months. How can I get visitation?

I want to see my daughter - even supervised. I am fighting the charges but how can I see or call her? Should I try to modify the order?

Joseph B. Simons
Joseph B. Simons answered on Nov 5, 2020

You could file a motion to modify the restraining order to allow for visitation.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Is it likely judge would rule contempt if nightly call not done as child is older & can call without assistance?

Clause- “while child is of young age and unable to contact other parent without assistance of custodial parent, the parties shall engage in a nightly telephone call to allow the child to allow the child to communicate with noncustodial parent”.

This was implemented when child was 3.... Read more »

Brian Waller
Brian Waller answered on Oct 30, 2020

It is really hard to say how a judge would decide, but as long as you are making an effort in good faith and the child doesn't want to, there isn't much you can do. It does sound like your daughter has outgrown the way that section of your agreement is worded. You may want to start the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Child Custody for Massachusetts on
Q: Nightly call clause is not specific. Can we be held in contempt for not making call? Massachusetts

Clause- “while child is of young age and unable to contact other parent without assistance of custodial parent, the partIes shall engage in a nightly telephone call to allow the child to allow the child to communicate with noncustodial parent”.

This was implemented when child was 3. Dad... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Oct 29, 2020

6 is a young age and there is potential for a Contempt Complaint to be brought against you for not making the calls occur .

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Could I lose custody of my child from a previous marriage because of a restraining order against my current spouse

I had filed a restraining order against my wife which was dissolved at the 10 day hearing. Since then my wife and I are working on our relationship. We are both in individual counseling and we are now both in couples counseling to try to mend our relationship and family. My dilemma is with my... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Oct 15, 2020

So it appears that your wife has demonstrated concerning conduct sufficient for you to obtain a restraining order. You have not stated whether the child was present during the precipitating incident and the child's safety and well-being and best interests are paramount. Your wife's... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody, Child Support and Civil Rights for Massachusetts on
Q: I'm looking for legal help for my divorce.

I have a complicated situation with a seven year old, don't have job, and my husband doesn't want the divorce we have been separated for 4 years. I was hoping you could help me and point me in the right direction.

Thank you in advance,

Maria

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

So, depending upon your financial circumstances the Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association may be able to assist you. If your husband has income and assets which are sufficient, the Probate Court can order him to pay toward your counsel fees.

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Family Law and Child Custody for Massachusetts on
Q: Can I stop my ex from starting a large expense cost (braces) until we agree on a payment plan with the orthodontist?

My teen recently went to live with my ex (the teen's choice) but we both have 50/50 legal. We share uninsured medicals and I technically would have to reimburse him in 30 days. He makes a lot more money than me, has a two income family, and plans on making a lump sum payment. He won't... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Oct 5, 2020

So, was there a recent Modification of Custody and Support? If you just agreed to this division and did not list orthodontia as an extraordinary expense to be agreed upon this murkies up the waters. It can be considered an extraordinary or unnecessary expense by some Judges. Are you sure you cannot... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Can parent/guardian permanently house 33 year old daughter with epilepsy/autism?

One Parent/co-Guardian versus state - ward age 33 history of seizures/autistic characteristics. Temporarily living with me per COVID; would like her living with me permanently. State wants me to forfeit my guardianship; says it's the only way. Can you clarify or suggest alternatives?

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Oct 1, 2020

This sounds like a DDS issue and not a guardianship issue per se.

1 Answer | Asked in Adoption, Family Law and Child Custody for Massachusetts on
Q: If my mom is in jail can a friend of mine get guardianship of me

I am 16 my mom left me in the care of a relative without birth certificate or social security card and I have been out of school for a year and am currently living with a friend who is filing for guardianship and feel unsafe goin back to my mom. How long will this process take and can or will they... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Sep 21, 2020

If the Court finds the petitioner for guardianship to be suitable and in your best interest after first having the petitioner appointed temporarily usually there would then be a trial date for appointment of a permanent guardian for you until age 18. Sometimes the parent(s) assent to temporary or... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce and Family Law for Massachusetts on
Q: Can your child support payments be lowered if you have another child with new spouse?(Massachusetts)
Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Aug 28, 2020

It can be used as a defense to the request for an increase in child support but not to lower an existing child support order.

1 Answer | Asked in Family Law, Child Custody, Domestic Violence and Probate for Massachusetts on
Q: Why doesn't MA take parental alienation seriously?

I have exhausted all options I could think to do. Modifications, motions, emergency motions, DCF reports, attempted to have a GAL appointed, ARC attorney only telling court her wishes. Nobody sees an issue with this. A good relationship to a nonexistent one. The hate and anger coming from my child... Read more »

Lillian J. LaRosa
Lillian J. LaRosa answered on Aug 27, 2020

Not sure what you are trying to do at this point. If counseling is ordered then you should comply with the Court's Order. Is there a review hearing date? If so you will need to report that counseling has not gone well and are concerned that there should be separate individual counseling for... Read more »

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