In Western Massachusetts, the Hampden County Probate and Family Court has jurisdiction over all divorces and paternity matters, along with child support, custody and parenting plan matters, termination of parental rights, and restraining orders of its residents in Agawam, Chicopee, Longmeadow, Holyoke, Palmer, Westfield, and Wilbraham.
The courthouse is in downtown Springfield at 50 State Street. Most matters are heard on the fourth floor.
The family court judges assigned to the Bristol Division of the Probate and Family Court Department are: First Justice Anne M. Geoffrion, Judge Beth Crawford, the Honorable David M. Fuller, and Judge David G. Sacks.
When You Divorce in Hampden County,
Your Case is Referred to as Either a 1A or 1B Divorce...
Divorces are filed as either uncontested (1A) divorces, or contested (1B) divorces. Often people claim that their divorce is not being contested because they both agree to the divorce. Whether or not a person disputes the obtaining of a divorce is immaterial because Massachusetts is a no fault state. If one party wants to terminate the marriage and meets the residency requirements, he or she can obtain a divorce whether or not the other party agrees to it or not.
In an uncontested divorce, the parties must both agree to all of the issues, terms, and conditions of their Separation Agreement including, if applicable, issues of property division, child support, child custody, child visitation, alimony, automobile issues, real estate issues, debt issues etc. Each of our attorneys offers a flat-fee in handling this type of divorce. Go to our sister firm, FlatFeeDivorceAttorney.com to learn more.
Learn About the "Home Court Advantage"
Whether you are a sports fan or not, most people are familiar with the phrase, "home court advantage" and the benefits that coincide with the team that has this luxury. The advantage helps teams to stay relaxed, comfortable and confident as they are accustomed to their surroundings.
This advantage is similar to retaining a local Springfield divorce attorney, Chicopee divorce lawyer, or Holyoke divorce law firm to handle your divorce or paternity. In fact, this advantage is crucial; after all, when you are facing any type of domestic relations matter, it is not a simple or fun game; it is a complex and often daunting task for litigants which can ultimately affect their entire future.
Not all local Springfield attorneys who claim to practice divorce law or paternity law are equipped to properly handle your case. There are some exceptions to this rule; for instance, if you hire one of the big divorce firms out of the Boston area. These attorneys are certainly knowledgeable, experienced and typically provide quality representation. But keep in mind, these same attorneys often confer with the local attorneys in our office to assist in cases that are likely similar to yours.
What Happens the Day You Go to Family Court in Springfield?
In Springfield, the Family Court is busy. Each year, the court hears close to 18,000 different matters: close to 5,500 probate matters, 2,500 divorce and separate support complaints, over 3,000 new paternity matters, over 2,500 allegations of contempt, and (given the state of the economy) more than 5,000 requests to modify prior court orders and judgments.
To streamline the process, once you appear in court more than for the first time, your case will either go right before the judge or be sent first to be heard by a probation officer.
He or she will help you identify the issues you and your spouse agree on, cannot agree on, and help you prioritize the importance of each. Within time, the hope is that most - if not all - matters will result in a resolution. Those that are not agreed-upon between you will go before your judge for direction.
Massachusetts Divorce Law Is Applied Locally
Even though our main office in Western Massachusetts is in downtown Springfield, we offer clients an even stronger home-field advantage with our satellite meeting centers in Chicopee, Agawam, East Longmeadow, Ludlow, Holyoke, and Westfield.
For a free, no-obligation consultation, call (800) 763-1030 or contact us online. We meet with clients 7 days a week, and each of our attorneys carries a Blackberry which avails us to answer your questions by phone or e-mail anytime - not just during office hours.