Experienced in Litigation And Family Law For 30 Years

Boston & Quincy Family Law Attorney

Boston Lawyer Dedicated to Handling Family Matters

When you are getting a divorce or facing another important family law matter, it can be challenging to try to handle it alone. Often, spouses and parents find themselves facing stressful and difficult decisions. Elizabeth Stiritz is a skillful Boston divorce lawyer with over 30 years of experience representing Massachusetts residents in family law matters, including divorce, child custody, child support, paternity, modifications, and the enforcement of court orders.


Divorce requires a consideration of many different matters, including how property should be divided, co-parenting, child support, and alimony. Often, people getting a divorce are concerned about the effect on their children. You can file for a divorce in Massachusetts if you have lived in the state for a year and you have lived in Massachusetts as a couple. In a fault divorce in Massachusetts, the person requesting a divorce must establish that there is a specific reason for the divorce. A contested no-fault divorce also known as a 1B Divorce can be sought if one spouse thinks that the marriage is over, or if both spouses think so but do not agree about issues such as marital property, child support, or child custody. In a fault divorce in Massachusetts, the person requesting a divorce must establish that there is a specific reason for the divorce. Fault grounds include impotency, adultery, desertion, drug or alcohol abuse, and abusive or cruel treatment.

Uncontested Divorce (1A Joint Petition)

Uncontested divorces are expedited processes for dissolving marriages. If you create a written agreement with your spouse that covers all of the statutory issues, you can get a hearing date and resolve your divorce in an uncontested manner. Often, uncontested divorces are amicable, fast, and cost-effective. However, you need to agree with your spouse about the division of the marital estate, alimony, health insurance, the marital residence, child custody, and other issues. In Massachusetts, you can get an uncontested divorce that is known as divorce on the ground of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. If you qualify for this type of divorce, it will go rapidly through the system and save money. However, it is important to be able to work closely with your spouse to complete the documents needed for an uncontested divorce. Our divorce attorney can help Boston residents protect their interests during this process.

Child Custody

In Massachusetts, the court will determine child custody by looking at the best interests of the child. Under Massachusetts law, each parent’s rights are presumed to be equal, except when a parent is found currently unfit, and a child’s happiness and welfare are important. In some cases, it is possible for the parents, through their attorneys, to reach an agreement about child custody and visitation. This agreement must be submitted to the court to be incorporated into a final divorce judgment. However, a judge has the authority to reject a settlement agreement that the judge believes is not in the child’s best interest.

Child Support

Child support is money that one parent pays to the other to support the child if the child lives primarily with the other parent. The money is awarded for the purpose of meeting the child’s needs, including housing, health insurance, child care costs, food and clothing, education, and financial support. Child support is usually determined according to guidelines based on the parents’ incomes. In some cases, the court will deviate from the guidelines, based on certain statutory factors. Elizabeth Stiritz handles child support orders in connection with divorce or paternity actions, and she also handles modifications and enforcement.


If you are going through a divorce, you may be ordered to financially support your spouse while the divorce is pending or after it is final. Alimony is usually awarded to the lower earning spouse so that he or she can keep a reasonable standard of living. Sometimes whether or not alimony should be awarded is covered by a prenuptial agreement, but prenuptial agreements must be fair and reasonable to be enforced. There are different kinds of alimony. For example, rehabilitative alimony can be awarded in order to help a spouse who needs more education or job training become financially independent in a specific amount of time. It cannot last more than five years. For another example, a judge may order a spouse to pay reimbursement alimony in the form of compensation to a spouse who financially supported them while they finished their education or got job training during the marriage. Transitional alimony may be awarded to help the spouse receiving it adjust to a new location or lifestyle.

Property Division

In Massachusetts, marital property must be divided equitably between the spouses. An equitable division is one that the court believes is fair under the circumstances. Elizabeth Stiritz can help you advocate for an appropriate division. An equitable division does not necessarily mean that the marital property will be divided evenly. Marital property can include property, assets, and income that either spouse acquired during the marriage. However, assets, income, and property that were acquired before a couple married can sometimes remain as separate property depending on various factors including the length of the marriage.


Sometimes paternity, or the identity of a child’s legal father, needs to be established. For example, it might need to be established for the purpose of obtaining child support or for the purpose of the father gaining custody or visitation rights. In Massachusetts, when a couple is married when a child is born, paternity is automatically established. However, if the parents are not married, paternity needs to be established. Paternity can be established through a voluntary acknowledgement of parentage when the mother and the father agree on who the biological father is and the father’s name is listed on the Birth Certificate. However, under some circumstances, an alleged father disputes paternity, and then it is necessary to go through an involuntary establishment of paternity, in which somebody files a Complaint to Establish Paternity in order to start the process. In this proceeding, the court can order genetic or DNA testing of the alleged father and the child before making a determination about whether the alleged father is the biological father.

Consult a Divorce Lawyer in the Boston Area

Family law matters can be difficult even under the best of circumstances. If you are dealing with a divorce or a related issue in Massachusetts, you should consult an experienced attorney. Elizabeth Stiritz represents spouses and parents in Suffolk, Norfolk, Plymouth, Middlesex and Barnstable Counties. Call us at 617.471.8500 or complete our online form to set up an appointment.

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