Practice Areas

Family law is a broad category of the law that includes a variety of family-related and domestic matters. Family law cases are heard in the Probate and Family Courts in every county in Massachusetts.  The La Vita Law Center serves clients in all areas of family law, including:

  • Alimony is spousal support than can be paid from one spouse to another in a divorce or separate support action. An award of alimony is based on the needs of the recipient spouse and the ability of the paying spouse to pay, among other factors. Whether an order of alimony is appropriate depends on the circumstances of each case.   

  • Child Custody includes two related concepts, and is determined by considering the best interests of a child and the circumstances of each case. Legal custody gives a parent the right to make medical, educational, and religious decisions on behalf of a child. Legal custody can be shared between a child’s parents, or awarded to only one parent. Physical custody is a determination of where the child primarily lives, and will often involve a parenting plan to determine visitation between the child and the parent who does not have primary physical custody of the child.   

  • Child Support is usually paid from one party to another in a divorce or paternity matter. Child support is calculated according to the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines and is based on the income of each parent. Depending on the circumstances of each case, child support can also include payment for college expenses, uninsured medical and dental expenses, and extracurricular expenses for children.   

  • Complaints for Contempt can be brought by a party after a Judge has entered an Order or Judgment in your family law matter when the opposing party does not comply with the Judge’s orders.    

  • Complaints for Modification can also be brought by a party after a Judge has entered an Order or Judgment in your family law matter. To be successful on a complaint for modification, the moving party must prove a substantial change in the circumstances of the parties since the last Order or Judgment was entered.    

  • Divorce is a legal process that terminates a marriage, and can be contested or uncontested. There are a variety of approaches to divorce, including litigation, collaborative divorce, or divorce mediation.    

  • Property Division is a typical part of a divorce matter. Examples of property that can be divided in a divorce are bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement assets, real estate, and personal property, to name a few.   

  • Paternity is an action to determine the father of a child born out of wedlock. The paternity of a child can be determined by agreement of the parties or through a Court proceeding. In a paternity action, the Judge may make orders regarding child support, provision of health insurance, child custody, visitation and a parenting plan, among other matters.    

  • Prenuptial (Premarital) Agreements are contracts that people who are intending to marry enter into before their marriage ceremony. Often the people who enter into a prenuptial agreement will agree to property division, support, or a variety of other issues, in the event that the marriage ends in divorce.   

  • Separation Agreements are contracts that people who are intending to divorce enter into to determine property division, allocation of debt, payment of alimony and child support, and all the other rights, responsibilities, and terms of a divorce. Entering into a Separation Agreement allows clients to determine and settle all aspects of their divorce themselves, without the Judge ordering them to do what the Judge thinks is best for the parties and their children. Since this is a legal, binding document, careful attention to detail is necessary when negotiating and drafting separation agreements.   

  • Step-parent or second-parent adoptions (SPA) are recommended when a same-sex couple plans to conceive and raise a child together. SPAs are important to solidify the parental relationship and protect the child.    

  • Visitation and Parenting Plans are typical in divorce and paternity matters. The point of a parenting plan is to establish when each of a child’s parents will spend time with a child, both during the week and on weekends as well as for vacations and holidays. Each parenting plan is unique and based on the particular needs of the parents and their child.  

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