Attorney Lynda J. Robbins’ Massachusetts Family Law Practice Areas include:
Lynda Robbins has over 35 year experience guiding couples through divorce and all types of family law disputes. Whether you are contemplating divorce or have been told by your spouse that divorce is likely, you should know your options. As an experienced divorce attorney, Lynda can help you understand the law and how it applies to your situation. Click here to read more about your options for divorce.
A formal, legal separation is not required prior to a divorce proceeding in Massachusetts. However, some people who might want or need formal Court orders to govern support and child-related matters but, who are not ready to start divorce proceedings consider a legal separation. In Massachusetts the proceedings start with a Complaint for Separate Support. Amongst those who seek a legal separation are those who are hoping for reconciliation, those who might have religious reasons for not wanting to divorce, those who might need to maintain their marital status to qualify for ongoing benefits. Under a Complaint for Separate Support, the Court does not have authority to divide property or to end the marriage. Negotiating a legal separation through mediation or Collaborative Practice has the same benefits as negotiating a divorce—the parties maintain control of the outcome.
Modification and post-divorce issues
People move on, children grow and circumstances change. Formally modifying a divorce Agreement is often necessary. Or, simply sorting post-divorce issues and coordinating necessary adjustments. As these issues are often much narrower than the original divorce negotiations, they can sometimes be addressed in one or two sessions. And, it is usually better to resolve the changes before they lead to more problems.
Parenting Plans and Custody
If there are children, their best interest is paramount. Parenting plans addressing child custody help all those involved know who is responsible for the children and when. Parenting plans establish the structure of what some people call custody and visitation. They spell out how decisions are made on behalf of the children. And establish the day-to-day schedules, holiday schedules and vacations so everyone, including the child, knows what to expect. And, how to change the schedule whether it is needed occasionally or long-term. Child support and other financial arrangements affecting the children are also important to negotiate.
Child Support & Alimony
As a divorce lawyer with over 30 years experience, Lynda knows how to address all issues that fall under the divorce umbrella, including child support, alimony, property division and allocation of assets. For more information on any of these divorce-related topics, please see our divorce options page.
When parents are not married, formal agreements are advised to establish parentage, parenting plans and financial obligations of both parents. Because the parents are the best experts on the needs of their children, negotiating the formal agreement before presentment to the Court results in a more tailored plan. Mediation and Collaborative Practice are both excellent processes for such negotiations.
Pre-nuptial and Post-marital Agreements
Sometimes parties contract before their marriage to determine how a situation will be handled if it arises later or to change the understanding between them after marriage to avoid prolonged disagreements. These contracts are known as pre-nuptial Agreements if they are negotiated before the marriage and post-marital Agreements if they are negotiated after the marriage. These Agreements may become relevant in a later divorce but, often, help avoid disagreements that could otherwise lead to divorce.
Move away/relocation issues
We live in a mobile society and it is not uncommon for people to have family and job opportunities in other states. When one parent wants to move away with the children and relocate, the child’s relationship with both parents is affected. In today’s world of webcams and internet calling, email, texting and accessible travel options, distances are not as great as they used to be. However, distances do limit the interaction between parent and child and compromise is difficult. Mediation and Collaborative Practice provide opportunities for parents to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a move/relocation and to find the optimum solution to, first, the question of whether or not to make the move and, if so, how to shape the ongoing parenting relationships.
Extended Family Disputes
Sometimes parents and children, even adult children, have disputes that need professional assistance to address. Brothers and sisters may disagree about important concerns such as care for elderly parents or sharing of family real estate. Extended family disputes may have started when the parties were children and/or may continue to affect the family for generations. Lynda Robbins can help extended families overcome differences and begin to heal relationships.