Family Law

Key Contacts

Karen M. Buckley
Tel. 617-964-7000

Attorney Karen Buckley will stay with you and guide you through these times of highly charged emotion, to arrive at fair and equitable resolutions in the best interests of you and your family.


Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage, in which division of property, alimony, child support, child custody, and parenting plans are resolved. Resolution can occur in one of several ways:

  • Litigation: Where the court resolves the issues. Generally both parties are represented by attorneys. The process is dictated by statute, case law and court rules.
  • Mediation: Where the parties jointly engage a neutral third-party mediator who works with the parties to reach an agreement. It is recommended that each party engage their own attorney to advise them and to review any agreement before signing and present the agreement to a court for approval.
  • Collaborative Law: Where the parties each engage a collaborative law attorney trained to work with them to reach an agreement on the issues raised. There is no court intervention until an agreement is reached. Then the parties go to court to have the agreement approved by the court.

Custody / Visitation

The parenting plan or custody plan is determined by the needs, habits and situations of each individual family, and will change over time. The best interest of the child is the standard. As children grow, needs may change, and the lives of the parents may change as well, so modification will be required to reflect the family's new circumstances.

Post-Divorce Modification

Changes in location or financial circumstances may require post-agreement modification to divorce judgments. A complaint for modification is a legal request for a change in financial obligations or parenting plans as is appropriate in light of the change in circumstances.

Enforcement of Judgments

When one party in a judgment does not comply with an order or judgment, action may need to be taken by the court to compel compliance. A complaint for contempt is filed with the court if other methods are unsuccessful in encouraging compliance.

Prenuptial Agreements

A couple may find it appropriate to negotiate an agreement prior to marriage that sets forth provisions for how property will be divided and other matters to be resolved in the event there is a divorce in the future. There must be full financial disclosure, and each party should have their own attorney review the agreement prior to its execution.


When there is a child born out of wedlock, the father may seek to establish paternity to proclaim his legal right to have a relationship with the child. The mother may seek to establish paternity to gain support for the child.


The forms of support are alimony (support of the spouse) or child (support of the child), as well as maintenance of health insurance and uncovered medical expenses.

Domestic Violence

Statute 209A provides for a restraining order to prevent a perpetrator from further abuse or causing a threat to the person seeking the order. The restraining order is used to remove the offender from the home, possibly without notice to him or her. Violation of the 209A Domestic Violence order is a criminal offense.

246 Walnut Street, Newton, MA 02460 | 617 964 7000