When using these resources make sure the information provided is current and applies to your case. Take the time to educate yourself fully, don't assume that the results of your research guarantee results, and always consult with a lawyer about what you learn.
INFORMATION ON THE LAW
Whether you are pro se (self represented) or have a lawyer, you will need to educate yourself on the law. Where can you go to do that?
Franklin Probate and Family Court Resource Center
MA Trial Court Law Library Website -- This is a great resource
MassLegalHelp.org -- Step by step, easy to understand explanation of family law
Lawyer for the Day programs
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE INFORMATION
New England Center for Women in Transition (NELCWIT)
If you have children and have filed in Family Court in MA, you will probably be required to take a parenting course. May sure that it is a certified course!
WHERE TO FIND
a. A Mediator -- Try the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation directory of mediators.
b. A Collaboratively trained lawyer or divorce coach -- Try the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council directory.
c. A litigator -- Try your local bar organization. For example, in Hampshire County try the Hampshire County Bar Association. In Franklin County, go to the Franklin Bar Association. You can also try the Mass Bar
d. A free lawyer -- If you are low- or no-income there still ways to get legal advice and I encourage you to utilize them. Whether you're just starting out or near the end of your legal journey, legal advice is always helpful not just for you but for your children and their future. You might want to try Community Legal Aid or a Lawyer for the Day program at your local courthouse. Many lawyers also offer a free or low-cost initial consult.
INFORMATION ON CALCULATING CHILD SUPPORT
New Child Support Guidelines go into effect October 4, 2021.
Child Support Guidelines, 2017
Child Support Calculator, 2017
Child Support Guidelines, 2021
Child Support Guidelines Worksheet, 2021
INFORMATION ON ALIMONY
For detailed steps on how to educate yourself on the law and do legal research, go to a law library (they are often at your local courthouse) or take a look at my book, Representing Yourself In Court. In my book, I explain how to do legal research and prepare for court. I also explain how to interview and hire an attorney.
For family law legal information in the Pioneer Valley, the Franklin and Hampshire County Probate and Family Courts have produced excellent pamphlets explaining the law. These are available at each courthouse.
Finally, if there is a resource you have found helpful but is not listed here, please send me an email!
Devlin Farmer is a family law lawyer and mediator based in Northampton, MA.