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How do I get a free family and probate court lawyer in Massachusetts when my court date is in a week?

Amherst, MA |

I need help with a custody and support issue I'm currently facing in Massachusetts. I have full custody of my son whom is 19 months old, under Massachusetts law the mother is awarded full custody of unmarried parents. Now my sons father is consistently filling for full custody modifications of temporary court orders. This is a problem I've been battling with self representation for over a year. As time goes on the aquisations my sons father falsly brings against me seems to always work in his favor.My question is how can I get representation in court especially when court dates are assigned in short notice? Also with myself having low income !

Attorney Answers 3


  1. One option is the Volunteer Lawyer's Project of the Boston Bar Association. Unfortunately, if you truly live in Amherst, MA, you will not qualify. Below is a list of the towns that you need to "live in." If it is possible to temporarily live with somebody in one of these towns, you may qualify for free legal help. You will also need to financially qualify and be the person who has physical custody. From my prior discussions with them, you can qualify even if you just moved to one of these towns yesterday:

    Acton, Arlington, Ashland, Bedford, Bellingham, Belmont, Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Canton, Carlisle, Chelsea, Cohasset, Concord, Dedham. Dover, Everett, Foxborough, Framingham, Franklin, Hingham, Holbrook, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hudson, Hull, Lexington, Lincoln, Malden, Marlborough, Maynard, Medfield, Medford, Medway, Melrose, Millis, Milton, Natick, Needham, Newton, Norfolk, Norwell, Norwood, Plainville, Quincy, Randolph, Revere, Scituate, Sharon, Sherborn, Somerville, Stoneham, Stow, Sudbury, Wakefield, Walpole, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Wellesley, Weston, Westwood, Weymouth, Winchester, Winthrop, Woburn, Wollaston, Wrentham.

    If moving to one of these towns is not possible, the National Lawyer's Guild, and the reduced fee (around $75/hr) service offered through the Massachusetts Bar Association are good options as well. Limited Attorney Representation (LAR) which is offered in every county is also a great option as it allows you to enter into an arrangement with an attorney for specific services at a price agreed upon before the work is performed. Other than that, there are great family attorneys here on avvo.com.

    The content of this answer should not be relied upon or used as a subsitute for consultation with professional advisors and it should be clearly understood that no attorney-client privilege has been created. A more complete answer and/or more accurate answer can only be provided in a more thorough examination of the facts in a consultation with my firm.


  2. Check with Community Legal Aid in Northampton -- 1-800-639-1309 -- and see if you qualify for assistance.

    E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.


  3. You might also contact a local private attorney and explain your situation. Private attorneys will often provide a free initial consultation and have an ethical obligation to offer some pro bono work each year.

    Gary S. Sinclair is an attorney licensed to practice in Massachusetts. All answers are based on Massachusetts law or a simple reading of the law in your jurisdiction. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to your question. The information provided should NOT be relied upon for making legal decisions. You will be best served by hiring an attorney in your area who specializes in the field of law pertinent to your question.

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