Child Custody/Child Support

Massachusetts Child Custody and Support Lawyer

Determining issues related to your children upon divorce or separation can be emotionally draining. At The Law Offices Burke, Espinola, & van Colen, in Fall River, Massachusetts, I work to make child custody and child support disputes as easy as possible.

If you are getting divorced, or were never married, some of the first questions about custody and support questions may be:

  • Are you a woman seeking child support from the father of your child?
  • Are you a man being asked for an unreasonable amount of child support?
  • Are you uncertain the child is even yours?

Paternity

When a child is born, and a man appearing to be the father is present, the hospital attempts to establish paternity by getting him to sign the birth certificate. An Acknowledgment of Paternity is a separate document that can also establish who is the father. These documents are crucial in any of the above situations.

Even if there is no such documentation, a paternity case can be filed. DNA evidence is very easy to collect at this point. Once paternity is established, then custody and support matters can be arranged.

Contact me to schedule a free consultation where we can discuss your individual issue and determine how to resolve your custody or support concern. I often work with fathers and mothers who are unaware that they have rights to visit their children, even if they were never married. To protect yourself and your children, you need an experienced family law attorney to work for you.

Best Interests of the Child Standard

Massachusetts courts dealing with a child custody issue use the best interests of the child standard. This means that the court will consider a number of factors relating to the child to determine matters such as who should be given custody. There are different types of custody that can be awarded — physical custody or legal custody. The court may require that both parents share either physical or legal custody or the court may award sole custody to one parent.

It is important to know that unmarried parents have rights to custody and visitation or parenting time. I frequently assist parents who are unaware of their legal rights. I can help prepare documents that establish paternity and will fight for your rights to be part of your child's life.

Custody and Support Modifications In Massachusetts

If there has already been a child custody determination, you may be able to get it modified. If you are considering relocating or a move-away, it is important to talk to a family law attorney first. Violating the child custody order can have serious consequences.

Child support determinations are relatively easy to modify. Massachusetts uses child support guidelines to determine the amount of support award given to the custodial parent. If your income has changed or your circumstances have changed, you should talk to me to see how I can modify your child support agreement.

Contact me to see how an experienced family law attorney can assist in your child custody or child support matter. I offer cost-effective representation so you get strong legal representation without going broke. I take the time to learn about your situation, so together we can come up with the best solution for you and your children.