For each of us, our family is at the center of our life. Yet legal matters often arise that disrupt and even break apart families. Issues such as divorce and child custody are difficult to deal with, and can be made even more difficult without the proper legal representation.
As a family law firm, we deals with all types of family-related matters and domestic relations, including marriage and divorce, child custody and guardianship, paternity, child welfare and child support.
Child Custody and Guardianship. The most heated legal disputes often arise over the care and custody of children.
“Custody” determines the extent to which a parent or guardian can make decisions regarding medical, educational, religious, moral and day-to-day care of a child. Custody can be shared or held exclusively by one parent or a guardian. If the parties do not agree, then the court will consider the happiness and welfare of the child while determining what is in the child’s best interests.
Child Support Modification. Whenever there has been a change in financial circumstances of the non-custodial parent, an individual may request the court to change the terms of the child support agreement to reflect the financial reality of both parents. Massachusetts has guidelines that assist parties in determining the amount of their obligation.
Child Welfare. Under Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 51A, doctors and nurses, teachers, child-care providers, police, social workers and others are required to report suspected incidents of child abuse or neglect. Other persons can also report suspected abuse or neglect. Such reports, whether warranted or not, will result in an investigation by the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families (DCF).
Parents need to know what their rights are if DCF calls. They need to know if and when DCF can take custody of their children, when to accept or refuse DCF services, and what the process is for a DCF investigation.
The experience can be emotionally draining. Compassionate representation from an attorney who understands the system will help you through the ordeal.
Divorce. Divorce is a financial transaction, with legal guidelines dictating the extent of how property and debts are divided between the parties. We will work with you to protect only your financial interests, but your interests as a parent.
Paternity. Paternity actions allow the court to determine who a child’s legal parent is, absent a marriage or other lawful acknowledgment. Establishing paternity of a child serves an important function, because it can provide a child of unmarried parents with important protections and rights including:
- Financial support
- Insurance and other benefits
- Right to inheritance