The Law Offices of Christine G. DeBernardis

Experience. Compassion. Integrity

 

Over 20 years of experience helping familes in New Hampshire & Massachusetts

 

Call us: 978.225.0661 or 603.373.0545

Contact Us TodayDecember 9, 2022

YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO IT ALONE

We Have the Experience To Help You

IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO LIVE AGAIN

We Believe Integrity Is Key To Helping Clients

NOT SURE WHAT TO DO NEXT?

We Are Compassionate About Our Client’s Concerns

Appeals

An appeal is a request for relief from a decision of a lower court.  It’s basically asking the Court to overturn a lower court’s ruling, order or finding based upon the fact that the lower court’s decision was in error.  Christine is an experienced lawyer; both at trial and appeals.  She can help if you’ve been convicted at trial.  You have the right to appeal — contact us today for a free consultation of your case.

Criminal Law

When you are in a difficult situation that requires the assistance of a knowledgeable, caring representative, turn to the Law Offices of Christine G. DeBernardis. Christine has the experience to help you get the best results.  The outcome of a criminal matter will affect your future. Make sure that your interest is protected and that you have an experienced advocate on your side. You can contact Christine G. DeBernardis in her Massachusetts office at (978-225-0661).

Divorce

Divorce and separation are tough on a family.  Everyone want to provide advice and it’s hard to know who to trust.  You need an advocate that is fair, experienced and compassionate.  Christine has nearly 20 years experience working with families both in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Contact us here to schedule a free phone consultation.

Areas of Practice

Nearly 20 Years of Professional Experience

The Law Offices of Christine G. DeBernardis have been helping families through difficult times for nearly 20 years, assisting clients with the different aspects of both New Hampshire and Massachusett’s family law.

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Specializing in Family Law

Christine focuses on issues related to family law. Uniquely experienced as both a trial and appellate attorney enables her to provide legal advice and representation for divorces, separation, annulments, child support and custody, adoption,  grandparents’ rights and more.

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Providing Civil and Criminal Expertise

Christine has been a trial attorney for both civil and criminal cases in Massachusetts for 20 years.  She is also a seasoned appellate lawyer in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts for a variety of civil and criminal cases.

Divorce After 50

Picture This:  You married your high school sweetheart.  You settled down and had a couple of kids early in life whom are now out of school and have families of their own. ...

The New Tax Bill & Alimony

It's a new year and we thought we would start it off with an article about something that's been all over the news for weeks - the new tax bill.  Some love it.  Some hate it. ...

Visitation: Part 1: What happens if a parent never shows up for visitation?

     While you hate to give up time with your child, you know that the visitation with his other parent is good for their relationship, can be a very positive thing and (let’s...

Estate Planning in Detail

Since estate planning is on my mind this week, I decided to feature a series of blogs that will give information about the many areas of estate planning in detail.  With these...

Child Support: Two Part Series on Common Issues – Intro

Certain questions become very common in the practice of divorce and parenting.  Particularly with the commonality of changing jobs more often than in the past and second...

Should I Stay Married For the Sake of My Children?

I often see the question posed to me in the middle of a conversation with a potential client, current client or even an acquaintance who knows I practice family law:  should I...

Custody: Can My Child Decide?

Very often I am asked “when can my child decide choose where he lives?” or “at what age will the Court listen to my children’s input?” The short answer to this question is that...

Massachusetts: The Alimony Reform Act

A recent hot topic in family law is alimony. I’m sure a lot of you have heard of the proposed legislation known as the Alimony Reform Act. This Act aims to define, clarify and...

Massachusetts: How does Separate Support Differ from Divorce?

In Massachusetts, I am often asked about the difference between Separate Support and Divorce.  Actions for Separate Support and Divorce are two very distinct options that are...

Can my wife take my inheritance in the divorce?

Very popular question!  I often get this question - can my wife take my inheritance in the divorce? or can my husband take my inheritance in the divorce? In my experience, most...

Free Consultation: Is it Worth It?

We often read other articles and posts and we came across a series of discussions recently debating whether or not there was a benefit to contacting an attorney for a free...

What Constitutes Parental Abduction?

It's a sickening thought, wondering if your child may be abducted by your ex-spouse and taken without your consent, outside of the court's order, maybe even across state lines....

Communicating on Social Media During Divorce

If you have read the news recently, you probably noticed that social media has come under fire for a couple of things.  First, social media outlets have been accused of creating...

My ex won’t pay child support. Can I refuse to let him see the kids?

My  ex won’t pay child support. Can I refuse to let him see our daughter? Absolutely not! If you do it, you are in contempt. Child support and parenting time are two separate...

What is Sole Custody?

Often people come to me and want “sole custody” of their child.  What does this mean?  Is it often awarded?  Why? How can you convince the Court to award it to you?  Sole Legal...

Should my Ex’s New Girlfriend/Boyfriend visit with my child?

You’ve separated from your partner and he now has a new girlfriend. He sees nothing wrong with that girlfriend being present during visitation with your kids. You think that she...

Massachusetts Divorce: “What’s this going to cost me?”

   Whether you’re the husband or the wife, the bread winner or the stay-at-home parent, cost is typically a factor in consideration of a divorce. At some point during every...

Parenting During COVID-19

How do I handle parenting time during COVID-19 and a stay-at-home mandate? The world is abuzz amidst COVID-19 and daily life seems to have changed for most of us. In fact, it's...

Massachusetts: Parent Education Program Attendance

All parties to a divorce action in which there are minor children, are ordered to attend and participate in an approved Massachusetts Parent Education Program. This requirement...

How to Build Financial Security When Facing Divorce

How to Build Financial Security When Facing Divorce If you see divorce or separation looming in your future, there are ways to plan ahead and build financial security to prepare...

What does Child Support Cover: Medical Bills

We are continuing the series about Child Support and the things it covers.  This article will focus on expenses incurred that are outside the actual child support payment but...

What To Do (and Not Do) If Your Spouse Is Cheating

It’s a difficult prospect to think that your spouse may have strayed from your marriage.  Most people find this shocking and upsetting, not knowing what to do (and what not to...

Why Do I Need an Estate Plan?

Recall in our first article on estate planning that we introduced you to some general information question about estate planning.  Let’s start our series out now with a very...

A Child’s Right to Decide: New Hampshire

New Hampshire: When can my children decide in whose home they want to live? Okay,  New Hampshire readers – I promised you would hear my thoughts on a child's right to decide...

Kid’s Corner: The “Don’ts”

I’m not a therapist by any means, but I do have children of my own and I do help my clients deal with their children’s issues in the course of my representation during divorce or...

Substance Abuse and Parenting

A parent or other caregiver with an alcohol or drug addiction has a profound impact on their children.  Substance abuse and parenting are more common than most people realize. ...

Prenuptial Agreements: Why Would I Want That?

It's hard to think that a divorce might happen when you are in the midst of planning your marriage and happily dreaming about the rest of your life, isn’t it?  How do you plan a...

Social Media and Legal Action

The biggest piece of advice that I can give to a client is to refrain from social media when you are involved in litigation.  Be it a criminal case, a divorce, a restraining...

Divorce and Social Media: Don’t

Whether you are simply contemplating the idea of divorce or in the middle of a full-on legal battle, your best bet with your social media accounts is to disconnect them.  Turn...

Can I sign away my rights to my child?

I am asked the question, "can I sign away my rights to my child" rather often, whether it be asked by the father or the mother of a child. Here’s an example of what I see in my...

Getting a Divorce Without Notifying the Spouse

The heading reads: "Man Got Divorced Without Ever Telling His Wife, Police Say". ...

The Queen Had Soul But No Will

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, was recently laid to rest.  Her service was like no other in our history.  Musicians from all genres came out to pay respects with praise and...

Massachusetts: Joint Petition or Complaint for Divorce

In Massachusetts, there are two ways by which a party can file for a divorce. The first is commonly known as a “joint petition.” The second is commonly referred to as a...

Blanchette: Case on Appeal

Recently the New Hampshire Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Ernest Justin Blanchette, a former deputy sheriff charged with sexual assault of an inmate during transport...

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators Over the past few years, we have seen horrible stories pertaining to children who were abused by either those they trusted or...

Should You Date Before Your Divorce Is Final?

You filed a Complaint for Divorce and are ready to move on with your life. Should you date before your divorce is final?  Can dating someone hurt you while you are going through...

Using Social Media During Divorce

Social Media During Divorce You May Have a Right to Post But Should You? Our article today happens to many families going through separation, divorce and working through child...

Parental Alienation: the Aftermath

In a previous article, I wrote about  parental alienation.  It is one of the most vicious things a parent can do to another parent because it can  destroy the relationship...

You Want Me to Communicate with Her? You Don’t Know My Wife!

Sound familiar?  I hear this comment on a regular basis.  It seems counter intuitive to ask that a couple going through a divorce, sometimes a contested and harsh divorce, do the...

Should You Represent Yourself in an Appeal

There are some cases where I tell my clients you can represent yourself.  An appeal is not one of those cases.  Appeals are not like other cases, whether they are criminal or...

Why Family Should Not Provide Your Legal Representation

It's a common situation.  A person is in need of legal representation for one reason or another, and because of restricted funds, reaches out to a family member who is also an...

Estate Planning After Divorce

Estate Planning After Divorce After a divorce, the last thing that anyone wants to think about is seeing an attorney, legal matters, planning the future, that sort of thing. The...

What is the role of a Guardian Ad Litem in Massachusetts?

I recently received a question on our website about how much input a GAL (Guardian Ad Litem) has with a judge during a divorce and custody case.  That's a complex issue so rather...

Missing Mollie – Trial Update

UPDATE According to the Des Moines Register, a trial date has been set for the man accused of abducting and killing Mollie Tibbetts.  The trial date is set for April 16th, 2019. ...

Can I have an attorney for mediation?

    Often I have people consult my office that either want to or have agreed to attend mediation (through a court process or otherwise). They tell me that...

Making an Appeal in Massachusetts

Update: In recent news, Avery's attorneys have submitted a number of appeals documents.  Several of these have been denied, however it appears one or more of these are still...

Do I have to pay child support without a court order?

Do I have to pay child support without a court order?  This is a question that I see often in my practice. The answer is two-fold: there’s the legal advice and the practical...

Do I Need a Holiday Schedule?

Question: Do I need a holiday schedule in my parenting plan/divorce agreement? I see this question a lot in my practice, particularly where the parties seem to be working...

Questions You Should Ask Your Divorce Attorney

When seeking a divorce attorney, there are a million questions running through your mind.  It’s wise to make a list of the topics you wish to address so that you can make the...

Can my parents get their money back that they loaned us when we got married?

My parents lent my husband & I money while we were married. I now want to make sure that they get their money back during our divorce. Can my parents get their money back...

Parental Alienation: Divorce and Custody Series

Divorce can have a variety of effects for both parents and children. Children often feel misplaced and at fault so it’s the parents’ responsibility to assure the child that the...

Changing Attorneys Mid-Case

Changing Attorneys Mid-Case Often, folks just like you call me part way through a divorce, or even after a divorce is over, that say that are not satisfied with their attorney. ...

Fight For Your Right – For Child Support

I get calls from clients on a regular basis who ask me if they should "go after" child support.  Some clients are preparing for a divorce, some are previously divorced and others...

CWOF – May I have another?

A while back I wrote an article telling you about a CWOF. What is it? How does it work? What does it entail? You can check that article out here: What is a CWOF.   Recently I...

What Type of Attorney Should I Hire?

This article is part of a series about why it's important to hire an attorney and the reasons behind hiring an attorney.  The purpose of this series is to help you determine the...

Quality Time With Kids

Children of divorced or separated parents have a bum rap.  There is just no other way to state it.  No matter what parents do, kids dream of having mom and dad together.  Behind...

Avoiding Legal Issues

In my previous article, “What Type of Attorney Should I Hire,” I wrote about the importance of speaking with an attorney early on in your case to maximize any potential outcome...

Is Sexting Cheating?

Some say it's harmless; just flirting and having fun.  Others say it's much more than that - it's a form of cheating whether there is physical contact or not.  While the term...

My husband filed for divorce and tells me I have to leave. Do I?

Question:  My husband filed for divorce. He had me served with the papers at my office. I did not know this was coming and he tells me I have to be the one to leave our home –...

Surviving Divorce Through the Holidays

Happy Holidays! – even during divorce. ​“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” During a divorce, or even after a divorce, the holidays can be a very difficult time of the...

Five Tips for Attending Court

Often I am asked "what do I wear?" or "is there anything that I need to know about going to Court?" Below are tips for attending Court that I find rather useful. 1. Dress...

How to Complete a Financial Statement

One of the biggest concerns in family court is the creation of a financial statement (or in New Hampshire, a financial affidavit). I see clients stress day after day about the...

Convicted of OUI May Get New Trial

If you follow our blogs or the local news, you may have read about an issue involving the breathalyzers used in Massachusetts for the detection of alcohol. The Draeger Alcotest...

Topics You Should Discuss With Your Divorce Lawyer

Hiring a divorce lawyer is the first important step in a long list of your divorce. Once you retain a lawyer it is vitally important that you communicate openly and honestly with...

Who Gets Our Family Dog in the Divorce?

It's a common scenario.  Boy meets girl and they fall in love.  They buy a home or rent an apartment.  Wanting to share their love, they adopt a dog. Over the next year or so,...

Parenting During a Pandemic FAQ

We understand that the past couple of years has been an unusual time in our history.  We are writing FAQ's as we receive questions.  Please keep those questions coming in and we...

Letting Go After Your Divorce

Divorce can be devastating even when both parties agree. Letting go after your divorce is difficult at best.  It's an emotional roller coaster, particularly when children are...

Custody Case Takes a Turn – The Brad Pitt Saga

If you’re not living under a rock, and if you are a loyal reader here on my site, I am sure you’ve heard about the custody battle between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Some...

Arsdale Appeals and Alimony

Recently two new cases came down from our SJC that you should be aware of, both relating to alimony. The first, SUSAN VAN ARSDALE vs. WILLIAM VAN ARSDALE, focused on the...

I Want to Fire My Lawyer!

If you have every said "I want to fire my lawyer, you are not alone".  Many times during a case it can seem confusing or overwhelming.  If you are frustrated or dissatisfied with...

The Safe Driving Law in Massachusetts

There is a lot of press recently about texting while driving all over our country but particularly in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Many states have banned texting while...

Can an Attorney Represent Both Parties in a Divorce

I receive calls frequently from potential clients who are seeking an attorney to counsel the parties, together, for a divorce. This happens for a variety of reasons. You want to...

Can You Get a Divorce Reversed?

Sometimes one or more parties to a divorce will be unhappy with the results of the divorce order and may wish to have the result reconsidered.  For whatever reason the question...

After Divorce: Why is my Child So Angry?

Part of my practice in family law deals in working with parents after the divorce and the adjustment of the families after the "dust settles", so the speak.  Often the parents...

Paternity: How can I establish paternity of my child?

If you are wondering how to establish paternity of your child, chances are, you have read up on some of the variety of ways and may have become confused on the right path to...

Massachusetts Contempt: Need to Know

 Massachusetts Contempt: What is it? How do I address it? What are the remedies? I hear people use the word “contempt” all of the time, but there is a lot of confusion about...

Estate Planning: Planning Ahead

Nobody wants to think about their death. It's unpleasant no matter how you look at it.  However, planning ahead is more than simply dividing up your worldly assets.  It can...

Should I Use Software Law Rather than an Attorney?

When I was in law school, my brother gave me a box of software used for estate planning as a gift. He thought that since I was in my first year of law school, it would be a great...

I am going to file for divorce myself. I may hire a lawyer later. However, when do I have to move out of the home?

This is a tough question to answer without knowing more about your case. The status of the marital home varies from case to case and is different in New Hampshire than it is in...

Myths of Divorce

If you are considering divorce or even in the middle of one, it's critical that you are receiving good advice.  Advice from family and friends may seem helpful but can lead you...

Should You Ask For a Lawyer?

Asking for an attorney, whether you have committed a crime or not, is not only smart - it's YOUR right.  In spite of news media or the way TV portrays our legal justice system,...

Annulment: Legal vs Religious

Annulment:  Legal versus Religious – an important distinction In the past  I wrote an article about annulment in each state:  Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  As I wrapped up...

2017 Child Support Guidelines – Part 3

In part 3 of our series on the 2017 Child Support Guidelines, we will be addressing child support for children between 18-23 years old and parental contribution to post-secondary...

I missed my (criminal) court date! What do I do?

You’re going about your day and suddenly realize that you were supposed to be in court. Last week. You thought it was next week, but it was actually last week. Oh no! What do I...

NH: Can I Hire an Attorney During COVID-19

For my New Hampshire clients, here’s the update:   Currently, the Courts are closed.   You may not go to the court, but the Family Division is conducting some of the court's...

When Children Take on Parenting: After Effects of Divorce

The son of recently divorced parents finds Mom crying in the kitchen.  "What's wrong, Mom?" he asks.  "Your Dad doesn't love me.  He has a  new girlfriend. How could he do that...

Grandparent’s Rights in Massachusetts

The issue of visitation rights for grandparent’s rights is governed by Massachusetts G.L. c. 119, s. 39D. Grandparents may seek visitation, “grandparent’s rights,” through the...

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators – Part III

In our last two related posts, we wrote about ways you can take precautions to protect your child from sexual predators who are related to the child - either by blood or marriage...

How to Simplify Your Divorce

The split up of a family, with or without children, is never easy.  We often find that couples begin to argue and play tug of war over things that never mattered until now....

Kid’s Corner: The “Do’s”

This is part two of my advice for dealing with your children in divorce. I’ve already made my disclaimer that I’m not a therapist by any means. I do have children of my own. I do...

Can I get an Annulment, please?

What is an Annulment? In Massachusetts, an annulment is a statement by the Court that you were never legally married. Unlike divorce, which acknowledges that you were married and...

Divorce Without Consent: Can I divorce without my spouse’s consent?

A very common question is whether you can get divorce without consent.  Of course! The old adage that you need your spouse to “give you a divorce” is no longer. You can proceed...

Just When We Thought He Was Beyond Reach

By now you may have heard that Bill Cosby was recently criminally charged by one of the women who claims that she was drugged and touched by him in the past.  The Commonwealth of...

I Want Her Out Now!

I want him/her out - now! When a married couple agrees to divorce, it signals the end of the union. However, it is easy to recognize that there are still many unanswered...

Should Siblings Be Separated by Divorce

When a couple divorces, it is difficult on the entire family.  Often it can be most difficult for the children of the marriage.  Depending on the age of the children, someone has...

Can I stop paying my child support without going to Court?

Often things happen that makes a parent think that they are no longer required to pay child support. A daughter joins the military. A son drops out of college. A child graduates...

Changing Your Name After Divorce

Many things change when you get married.  One of those is often the changing of your last name.  If you changed your last name to your husband’s last name upon marriage, you now...

Absent Parents: The Parent Who Used to be Absent

Absent parents is a topic that I see frequently in my practice. Here’s a perfect example: Mom was pregnant but dad wanted nothing to do with her, or the baby, during pregnancy...

Modification: The In’s and Out’s

As life changes, you may find yourself in a situation where your current order (or judgment) no longer applies to your circumstances or seems fair, given your life changes. If...

Can I be arrested for a warrant in Massachusetts if I go to the local DMV in Massachusetts?

Q:  Can I be arrested for a misdemeanor warrant in Massachusetts if I go to the local DMV in Massachusetts? If there is a warrant, you can be arrested at any time. They don't...

How to Survive the Holidays During Divorce

The holidays are a time for family.  It's supposed to be a time to look back and reflect on those wonderful memories together.  When you are in the midst of a divorce, or you’ve...

What is the Automatic Restraining Order?

When a Divorce is filed, an automatic restraining order on assets immediately applies. This prohibits you, and your spouse, from encumbering, selling or transferring certain...

The Importance of an Appeal

Aaron Hernandez, famed football player who was convicted of murder and later, committed suicide has, once again, been in the news.  You may recall that before his death, his...

My best divorce advice: Don’t listen to your family & friends!

Sounds silly, right? It’s the best divorce advice that any attorney can give is don't listen to your family & friends. Your family and friends always want what’s best for...

Domestic Abuse During a Pandemic

The year 2020 is now behind us but in many ways, we are still living through a full scale pandemic.  COVID-19 hit this world  and affected us in a large number of ways we did not...

Appeal a Judgment

I recently came across this article "How to Appeal a Judgment without an Attorney."  Being fairly intrigued, I read the article looking for holes that I could use in writing this...

Cheating Spouse: How Do You Know?

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been all over the news lately about their divorce.  There have been numerous reasons cited for the divorce.  Everything from drug abuse to...

When to seek counseling for your child?

Divorce and separation issues are very hard on children.  Whether parents are starting the divorce, discussing the break up or have already gone their individual ways, children...

It’s Vacation Time: Don’t Take it Out on the Kids

Holidays and vacation time can be stressful.  There seems to be more to do than your average day.  If you are a parent going through a divorce or separation, it's magnified.  Not...

Filing a Protective Order

Filing a protective order (209A) can be a scary time.  Maybe you aren't sure where you will go.  Maybe you have children to consider.  Perhaps your family is not as supportive or...

Filing a Protective Order: Preparing to Leave

Filing a protective order is an extremely difficult decision.  It takes a toll physically and emotionally on a person.  After the filing, many decisions still have yet to be...

Who wants a Life Estate?

I am sure that you’ve all heard the recent news that Hugh Hefner put the Playboy Mansion up for sale.  For a mere $200 mill, you can purchase the mansion and call it your own –...

Massachusetts: The Annie Dookhan Drug Lab Scandal

Update: if you have not watched Netflix’s “How to Fix a Drug Scandal”, we recommend you do so. It discusses this case and the Sonja Farak case.  If you feel you have been...

Losing Custody of Your Child

Losing custody of your child is one of the most heart-wrenching things a parent can endure.  As a family attorney, I am often asked about the types of things that will result in...

Can I Stop Him From Selling Our Home While Child Is Still in School?

Question: My husband moved out of our home two years ago and moved in with another woman. We have guardianship of my granddaughter who will be graduating from high school in...

Marital Property: What is it?

Far too often I meet with a client for consultation who is concerned that a certain asset is not a marital asset because it is not “in [their] name.” A client may say “well, we...

Creating an Irrevocable Trust Can Save Your Loved Ones

The words "irrevocable trust" often seem intimidating to many of my clients.  However, when used properly, this can be an effective estate planning tool.   If designed properly,...

If I signed my parental rights away can I get them back?

I often get questions from overwhelmed parents who feel that, for one reason or another, it would be in the best interest of everyone concerned, if they just give up their...

Expectations after Divorce

           In a relationship, we have certain expectations of our spouse, our partner and perhaps the other parent to our children. Often, the other party will try to do what...

Supervised Visitation: The Brad and Angelina Case

Brad and Angelina I’m sure you’ve seen recently that Brad and Angelina have made strides in settling their parenting agreement.  Angelina is maintaining primary custody of the...

Am I the right attorney for you? Schedule a phone free consultation today to discuss your case and decide if I am the person you want on your side.  Contact me now at: 978.225.0661 or 603.373.0545.  You may also  email me in confidence.