Common Questions And Answers About Massachusetts Family Law

If you’re like most family law clients, you likely have a lot of questions at the moment. Below, I’ve answered some of the more common questions that people ask. After reading, feel free to contact Greco Law, PLLC, to get your own questions answered during an initial consultation.

How much will a divorce cost?

There are standard filing fees and court costs, but these represent only a small portion of overall expenses. The answer is always case-specific and depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of the marital estate, the methods you use and the cooperation of your spouse. In general, divorces tend to be cheaper and faster when they are completed through mediation rather than litigation. But this is only possible if you and your spouse can negotiate in good faith.

How is child custody determined?

In Massachusetts, courts are required to make child custody decisions based on the best interests of the child. When both parents are deemed fit, courts often want to keep both parents actively involved in the child’s life, but each case is decided on its own merits. There are no “automatic” outcomes. I discuss this in greater detail on the child custody and visitation page.

Should I expect to receive/pay alimony?

Alimony, sometimes called spousal support, is not automatically awarded, nor is it gender-specific. If both spouses earn enough to support themselves, alimony may not be necessary. If one spouse (of either gender) needs temporary or long-term financial support and the other spouse has the ability to pay, alimony may be awarded. The amount, duration and purposes of alimony vary from case to case.

While alimony is usually addressed during the divorce process, one spouse can seek it later if it wasn’t mentioned in the divorce judgment.

How can I modify a child custody order?

Child custody and parenting time orders should be followed and enforced, if necessary. But if they no longer serve their purpose, either parent can petition the court for a modification. The parent seeking the modification must show that there has been a significant change in circumstances since the issuance of the original judgment and that the current order no longer meets the best interests of the child or children. I can help you make this assessment.

How long does child support last?

Generally, child support obligations terminate when the child is emancipated and is no longer dependent on parental support. Usually, this is when he or she turns 18. However, support may be ordered for longer if the child is still in high school after age 18, or even if the child is relying on parental support for undergraduate studies. As with other questions on this page, the answer varies depending on individual circumstances.

Contact Me For Answers To Your Own Questions

Have more questions? Greco Law, PLLC, is based in Woburn, Massachusetts, and serves clients throughout the Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex counties. There is no substitute for case-specific advice, and I’d be happy to answer your questions during an initial consultation. To get started, call my office at 978-806-6922 or send me an email.

The information provided on this site is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice.  Consult an attorney to obtain individual legal advice. Please be advised that this material may constitute advertising under the rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.