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Legal Assistance Resources in Massachusetts Prepared by Fathers & Families This is a list of legal resources available in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to assist parents in custody and visitation matters. Because some of the organizations and resources described below refuse to provide legal assistance to non-custodial parents, you may need to contact several agencies before obtaining assistance. As a last resort, parents may seek assistance from the Lawyer-Of-The-Day program, an on-site consultation service for non-criminal legal matters staffed by volunteer attorneys, available at most of the Family and Probate Courts. These Courts have exclusive jurisdiction in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts over family-related matters including divorce and custody. You should contact the appropriate Family and Probate Court to determine the availability of the Lawyer-Of-The Day program. Specialized Legal-Related Services Expert Witness - Warren Farrell Pro Se Help Book- Reason for Revolution: The Tyranny Against Fathers, Family & Freedom STATE-WIDE RESOURCES Legal Services Corporation funds 138 legal aid programs with 700 offices around the nation to help poor Americans gain equal access to the judicial system. The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is a private, non-profit corporation established by Congress to seek to ensure equal access to justice under the law for all Americans by providing civil legal assistance to those who otherwise would be unable to afford it. You can link to Massachusetts funded programs below and link to a state locator on the LSC's home page. http://www.lsc.gov MassLegalHelp.org provides information about your legal rights as a Massachusetts resident, written in plain English or Spanish. The Family Law section includes resources on visitation, custody, divorce, annulment, and separation in English and Spanish. http://www.masslegalhelp.org/cat/ MassLegalServices.org offers resources about legal issues facing lower-income Massachusetts residents. Although this site is intended for advocates and social service professionals, the materials here may be useful to anyone seeking information about laws affecting Massachusetts residents. http://www.masslegalservices.org/cat/ Massachusetts Probate Court Directory offers addresses, driving information and contact information for Family and Probate Courts, which have jurisdiction over family-related matters, including divorce, child support, paternity establishment, domestic violence protection, and custody. http://www.mass-doc.com/probate_court_dir.htm Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries: seventeen public law libraries located across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts offer a wealth of online legal resources extensive primers on Massachusetts divorce and custody law. http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/ The Massachusetts Bar Association 20 West Street Boston, MA 02111 (617) 338-0500 http://www.massbar.org/ The Massachusetts Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, (617) 338-0500, can provide parents, with referrals to attorneys specializing in family law matters, and for parents meeting certain income limits, referrals to reduced-fee or pro bono attorney representation. Many parents seeking assistance experience difficulty in contacting the referred attorney and scheduling initial appointments. The Massachusetts Bar Association also provides the following services to help answer basic legal questions: MBA Dial-A-Lawyer program ((617) 338-0610): on the first Wednesday of each month you can get free legal help from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. from volunteer lawyers. MBA Tel-Law program ((617) 338-0669): provides recorded messages designed to answer basic questions about the law. Tel-Law is automated and available 24 hours a day. Family law segment includes explanations of custody, unmarried cohabitants. (Information is also available in Spanish). Massachusetts Advocates for Children 100 Boylston Street, Suite 200 Boston, MA 02116-4610 (617) 357-8431 (617) 357-8434 fax Legislative, policy, administrative and case advocacy on behalf of children from low income families in areas of education, special education, child welfare and health. Bilingual intake (Spanish and English). Provides assistance, support and training for legal services staff and pro bono attorneys through the Children's Law Support Project. EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS (ESSEX, MIDDLESEX, NORFOLK AND SUFFOLK COUNTIES) Essex County Family and Probate Court 36 Federal Street Salem, MA 01970 (978) 744 -1020 ext. 383 Boston Bar Association 16 Beacon Street Boston, MA 02108 (617) 742-0615 or (800) 552-7046 (617) 523-0127 fax http://www.bostonbar.org/ The Boston Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service, (617) 742-0625, can provide parents with referrals to Boston attorneys, who will charge no more than $25.00 for the initial half-hour consultation. They can be reached Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Middlesex County Family and Probate Court Cambridge Location – Main Office 208 Cambridge Street P.O. Box 41080 East Cambridge, MA 02141-0006 http://mcpfc.com/index.htm Cambridge Satellite Session 121 Third Street Cambridge, MA 02141 Concord Satellite Session 305 Walden Street Concord, MA 01742 Marlborough Satellite Session Williams Street Marlborough, MA 01752 Lowell Satellite Session Gorham Street Lowell, MA 01852 Middlesex County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service 657 Cambridge Street Cambridge, MA 02141 (617) 494-4150 Harvard Legal Aid Bureau 1511 Cambridge Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138 (617) 496-2687 http://www.law. Harvard.edu/studorgs/hlab Assists custodial parents in abuse, divorce, support, custody or contempt cases, as well as qualified non-custodial parents with visitation issues. Legal Services In Massachusetts there are several legal services organizations available to assist parents, but many only provide assistance to the custodial parent, rather than the non-custodial parent, particularly in challenges to restraining orders and child support enforcement matters. Legal Advocacy and Resource Center 197 Friend Street, 9th Floor Boston, MA 02114 617-371-1123 http://www.masslegalhelp.org/cat/ Primary legal services screening agency for low-income people in Greater Boston experiencing civil poverty law issues including housing, domestic relations, public benefits, employment, health and consumer. Provides self-help assistance and brief advice through a free legal hotline and refers low-income people to other agencies as they are eligible. Greater Boston Legal Services 197 Friend Street Boston, MA 02114 (617) 371-1234 or (800) 323-3205 (617) 371-1222 http://www.gbls.org/index.htm Family Law Unit primarily represents victims of domestic violence. If income does not exceed 125% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines, custodial parents can receive assistance defending against child support challenges. SOUTHEASTERN MASSACHUSETTS (BARNSTABLE, BRISTOL, DUKES, NANTUCKET AND PLYMOUTH COUNTIES) Barnstable County Family and Probate Court 3195 Main Street PO Box 346 Barnstable, MA 02630 (508) 375-6725 Barnstable County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service P.O. Box 718 Barnstable MA 02630. (508) 362-2121 Bristol County Family and Probate Court 11 Court Street Taunton, MA 02780 (508) 824-4004 Bristol County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service 440 County Street, New Bedford MA 02740. (800) 647-5151 or (508) 990-1303 Dukes County Family and Probate Court 81 Main Street PO Box 237 Edgartown, MA 02539 (508) 627-7664 Nantucket County Family and Probate Court Town and County Building 16 Broad Street Nantucket, MA 02554 (508) 228-2669 Norfolk County Family and Probate Court 35 Shawmut Road Canton, MA 02021 (781) 830-1200 Norfolk County Bar Association's Legal Referral Service 15 Cottage St., Suite 206, Quincy MA 02169 (617) 471-9693 Plymouth County Family and Probate Court 11 South Russell Street Plymouth, MA 02360 (508) 747-6204 Plymouth County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service 47 West Elm St., Suite 304, Brockton MA 02301. (508) 584-6600 Southeastern Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation 231 Main Street, Suite 201 Brockton, MA 02301 CENTRAL MASSACHUSETTS (WORCESTER COUNTY) Worcester County Worcester County Courthouse 2 Main Street Worcester, MA 01608 (508) 770-0825 Worcester County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service 19 Norwich Street Worcester, MA 01608. (800) 622-9700, (508) 752-1311 http://www.worcestercountybar.org/ Lawyer Referral Service: refers attorneys er County who can provide legal representation in the area of law the individual needs assistance in. Referrals can be provided in most areas of law. Reduced Fee Program: Attorneys provide legal assistance to residents of Worcester County for a reduced fee. Clients must fill out an application and fall within financial guidelines to be eligible. Not all areas of law are handled through this program. Volunteer Lawyer Service: Attorneys provide pro bono legal assistance to low-income residents of Worcester County in some areas of civil law. Clients must meet financial eligibility guidelines and the case matter has to fall within the Volunteer Lawyer Service priority list. Lawyer For The Day Program: co-sponsored by the Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts and the Worcester County Bar Association. This program assists pro se litigants in the Worcester Probate and Family Court. WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS (BERKSHIRE, FRANKLIN, HAMPDEN AND HAMPSHIRE COUNTIES) Berkshire Franklin Family and Probate Court Probate and Family Court 44 Bank Row Pittsfield, MA 01201 (413) 442-6941 Berkshire County Legal Referral: use Mass. Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service. (617) 654-0400, (800) 392-6164, or TDD: (617) 338-0585. Franklin County Family and Probate Court Franklin County Courthouse 425 Main Street P.O. Box 590 Greenfield, MA 01302 (413) 774-7011 Franklin County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service 20 Federal Street, Suite 4, Greenfield, MA 01301. (413) 773-9839 Hampden County Family and Probate Court Hall of Justice 50 State Street Springfield, MA 01102-0559 (413) 748-7745 Hampden County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service 50 State Street, Springfield, MA 01103. (413) 732-4648 Hampshire County Family and Probate Court 33 King Street Northampton, MA 01060 (413) 586-8500 Hampshire County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service 15 Gothic Street, Suite 10, Northampton, MA 01060. (413) 586-8729