Is it contempt if one parent does not pick up children on assigned day It is not necessarily a “contempt” if a parent does not exercise parenting time. However, if the parent does not present for parenting time and it costs the other parent financially (ie time off from work, child care, etc.), the parent […]
Christine G. DeBernardis earned her BS in Psychology and Law at the College of New Jersey (formerly Trenton State College) in 1996. She continued her education at the New England School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts, where she earned a Juris Doctor in 1999. Attorney DeBernardis was admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1999, the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts in 2003 and the State of New Hampshire in 2007.
Christine is a member of the Essex County Bar Advocates, Inc., Essex County Bar Association, and the Newburyport Bar Association and is a panel attorney for the Appellate Division of the Committee for Public Counsel. She volunteers as a Judge for the Massachusetts Bar Association Mock Trial competition and the Essex County Junior Mock Trial competition. Christine has led, and participated in, continuing legal education, speaking and educating other attorneys on topics such as domestic violence issues, jurisdictional issues and mental health proceedings as these issues pertain to criminal and family law.
Christine has worked all over the Commonwealth and has a vast amount of experience in many areas of law. She has worked with clients from all walks of life ranging from representing indigent clients through appointment by the Court to private clients in all areas of law. Currently, her practice focuses on family law, criminal law and appellate law. Her experience and background give her the tools that she needs to excel in these areas and enjoys her practice.
In her personal life, Christine is married and she and her husband are the proud parents of two children. She is very involved in her childrens’ day to day activities as well as several volunteer opportunities.
Christine currently participates in several fundraising events. She has participated in walks to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer in years past, cycled for many years in the Five Boro Bike Tour in New York to raise funds for the youth hostels and has been an annual participant in the Long Island 2 Day Walk to Fight Breast Cancer. She also rode the Tour of the Tucson Mountains in Arizona, which benefits many different charities in each event.
Need to run an issue by Christine? Reach out to her by clicking the button below:
Practicing Law in Massachusetts and New Hampshire
Practicing law in two states has helped family lawyer Christine G. DeBernardis become a versatile attorney and given her a large amount of experience which she uses to represent her clients. Christine has over 15 years of experience as a family lawyer. She applies her knowledge of the laws for both states, and the different perspectives of the two, to benefit her clients with innovative, fresh ideas for their cases. Whether your goal is to negotiate a reasonable settlement for your matter or to litigate the issues in your case, Attorney DeBernardis can use her experience to create several strategies to meet your goals. She is knowledgeable in family law, criminal law, as well as other general practice areas such as real estate.
Serving Massachusetts & New Hampshire
As a member of several bars, Attorney DeBernardis works to stay apprised of the ever changing law and is dedicated to applying these changes to ensure that her clients’ best interest is represented. She attends several education courses each year to keep up to date with the changes in the law and is constantly working to enhance her knowledge of the current laws and case outcomes that will benefit her clients.
Our Readers Ask:
If I Get a Second Job or Have Additional Income, Will Child Support Be Changed to Include It? In Massachusetts, the court determines whether to consider income from a second job after examining the history of the income (for how long it has been received, whether it is routine or sporadic, etc.) and expectation of […]
Q. COVID has made seeing my child nearly impossible due to my new wife’s high risk pregnancy. My ex wife is holding this against me. Now that NH has relaxed the restrictions I want to see my child but my ex is saying that I have forfeited my rights. How can I handle this? Continuity […]
Q. In MA Is child support based on 2nd income? In MA, child support is based upon the income of the parties. “Income is defined as gross income from whatever source, regardless of whether that income is recognized by the Internal Revenue Code or reported to the Internal Revenue Service or state Department of Revenue […]
Q. Is parent required to pay child support before being ordered by court to do so? If so, how do we determined the amount? Every parent should provide financially for his or her child. Therefore, yes, a parent should support a child even if not ordered to do so by the Court. In MA paternity […]
Q: Parent doesn’t arrive at pickup location on time. Do I have to give child to her? This is very fact dependent. But my advice is always to take a reasonable approach. If a parent is scheduled to begin parenting time at 3PM and shows up at 3:30PM, you should permit the time. Even without […]
Q: Visiting parent who hasn’t kept up with custody, what happens? Does he or she lose rights? Normally and then in today’s COVID days? A parent who is awarded parenting time has the choice to exercise his/her time. If he or she does not exercise awarded time, she is not in contempt, per say. That […]
We finally agreed on terms for modification of our parenting plan. Where the court is now closed, does this mean that we can’t sign an agreement and submit it for approval? Answer: If you are working toward a resolution of a case, always keep trying! If you can agree, and you can reduce that agreement […]
As with many aspects of parenting cases, the answer is in the facts. The amount of time varies drastically from case to case. I’ve seen divorces that take exactly one month to complete and others that have taken as much as several years. If you can agree on every aspect of the case and are […]
In NH, the court suggested mediation in our case. My husband is so inflexible and I’m worried we will never agree on anything. Isn’t this just a waste of time? In my opinion, mediation is rarely a waste of time. Mediation brings parties to agreement on many issues which the parties (or their attorneys) never […]
Q: My mom deeded her home to me for $1. We figured that when she passed away, the home already being in my name would make things easier. Is her home a divisible asset if I divorce A: Here, I’d want to know a little bit more about the transaction and the property itself. Did […]
Q: I travel for work. Are my reimbursements considered income when calculating child support? What about my car allowance? Cell phone reimbursement? A: The child support guidelines indicate that “income is defined as gross income from whatever source, regardless of whether that income is recognized by the Internal Revenue Code or reported to the Internal […]
Q: why didn’t Cosby have to go to jail after he was found guilty A: When a person is found guilty through the trial process, the next step is for the government to move for sentencing. Within that request, the government is always free to ask that the Court revoke bail (if the defendant is […]
Q: On appeal I would like to reassert arguments first made in a motion to dismiss that was denied. After final judgment, my timely appeal concerns the judgment in the overall case, but I did not appeal the decision on the motion to dismiss. Under these circumstances, can my appeal brief incorporate the arguments made […]
My ex is refusing to include my new spouse in our communications about our kids. Can I legally obligate her to include my new spouse? It seems like this would be simple and would be good for our kids, but she won’t do it. Answer: I absolutely understand the usefulness of including your new spouse, […]
Q: Can an inherited property be brought to the table in the division of assets in the state of Massachusetts? A: Inherited property questions, as many, are decided when looking at the facts and circumstances surrounding the property, the inheritance and the status of the property since it was inherited. I think that the Courts […]
Q: What happens at a divorce pre-trial conference? A: Hi and thank you for your question! When a court assigns the case for pre-trial conference, the notice includes a mandate for a four way conference to take place with parties and their respective attorneys. This conference must be done at least one week prior to […]
Q: I have a 18 year old daughter I was never married to her mother there has never been a court issued for me to pay any kind of support I have not been in this child life at anytime do to her mother not wanting me to but now that she is 18 can […]
Q: if the child’s father has visitation but his wife shows up do I have to give my child to the wife even if the order is between me and her father? A: Hi, and thank you for your question. Parents often send a relative to retrieve the child for parenting time. We all run […]
Q: Can I live in a studio apartment in Massachusetts and have my 11 year old stay with me? Like most issues in Family Law, the answer to this question depends heavily on the facts. It would involve an analysis of the age, sex and experience of the child; the apartment layout; sleeping space/arrangements; and […]
Q: I felt as if the judge had no care or knowledge about our case. She ordered a drug test and with her words said we’re “both pointing the finger” though in my papers I never said anything about him having substance abuse. She didn’t give me the chance to talk really and now I’m […]
My ex text me tuesday saying he wont be able to pick up for visitation friday and said to have her ready sat and he will.pick her up than. Am i able to deny and cancel his visitation? I had to call out of work resulting in a write up becuse i didnt have a […]
My husband and I been talking about divorce for years. He said he’s going to keep me from divorcing him and going to have the kids say I am crazy and can’t live alone. Can he do that? Nobody can force you to stay married. The Court will grant you a divorce even if […]
Q: My wife is getting calls without no number and we can’t trace it. The police won’t do nothing. Can’t a lawyer do something? Can I get a private investigator to find out and sue them for harassment? A: Phone calls can be difficult because of the technology that exists to hide telephone numbers and mask […]
Q. Can I sue someone for adultery? I thought I read somewhere that if she keeps doing it, I can sue for it. Help please. A. In NH, you can file for divorce on the ground of adultery. If you can show that there was “intercourse,” you may seek additional assets or support as a […]
My husband has been having an affair for over 3 years. He stops but the woman won’t stop contacting him. Can I have her arrested under http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/272-14.htm? No, adultery is no longer a criminal action in NH. It is rarely prosecuted in MA.
Does my second job count towards child support? Maybe. If you have a second job at the time that the initial child support order is made, then the job often will count as income when calculating child support. The Court has to consider whether part time or overtime income was historically received throughout the marriage […]
Question: I am moving to NH can my childs dad go to NH court and try and get 50 physical custody? He has shared legal right now. Answer: If you have an order, it might address this issue. Look within it to see if it talks about either party moving his or her residence – […]
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 2018. she is going to be going to college after she graduates. My husband said that as soon as she graduates high school he […]
Attorneys are bound by a set of ethical rules that limit the communications that can take place with a person who is represented by an attorney. The thought here is that if a person has an attorney, that would be the one in the best position to speak on their behalf. So, in the question […]
My daughter is 16 and thinks she owns the world. She wants to be emancipated but said a lawyer told her she can still live with us and do what she wants. WTH? Tell me that’s not true? Emancipation is a process by which your daughter asks the Court to deem her legally responsible for […]
I want to adopt my grandkids. Their parents (my son and daughter in law) are unfit and druggies. They have parties with the kids around all of that. What do I do and how do I start preparing? How much would this cost in legal fees? It sounds like you are seeking an actual termination […]
I have been falsely accused of domestic abuse by my wife. I never laid a hand on her but now I can’t get near our home. Can I fight this? Absolutely. Domestic matters are very difficult because they often involve a “He said/She Said” type situation. Often, there is no other evidence other than the […]
Can I ask for an accounting of how support is spent or dictate how support is spent? No. The support is paid to the other parent and used as that party sees fit. Often I hear that “none of that money goes to my kids” and indeed, that may be the case. Remember that support […]
Can I pay support directly to my children instead of to the other parent? No. Even when children are older (ie college age), support is always paid to the other parent and not directly to the children. That parent is then responsible to assist the child financially using, in part, the child support. The Court […]
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 that they loaned us when we got married? Maybe. If your parents lent money to either or both of you, and […]
I am in middle of a divorce. We agreed on everything but now my wife decided she wants more for the house and we can’t sell it for the amount we agreed upon. She says it’s worth a lot more than I think it’s worth. What are my options? How did you obtain the […]
I have a child with disabilities. He turns 18 this month and his daddy won’t have to pay child support for him anymore. But he can’t work and he can’t take care of himself. What can I do? I can’t take care of him all by myself. In Massachusetts, the Child Support Guidelines can […]
Can I have the court put a freeze on my husbands money while we are in divorce? If not, he will spend it all on his new girlfriend. Upon service of the divorce complaint/petition there is a “financial restraining order” that goes into effect preventing each of the parties from spending in certain ways. If […]
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 – with our children! He says this is his home. NH: Do not leave your home. You don’t […]
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 Massachusetts. Is the home being sold? If so, by whom and when? Is your spouse keeping the home? Will there be […]
QUESTION: My Ex and I agree that I would give him cash for the child support. I have been doing that for 3 years now. Some of them are done with cash and some through my paypal account. I have paid every one of these on time! Now he says he will take me to […]
My husband wants to “leave the lawyers out of this.” Can we divorce without lawyers? In some circumstances, it is perfectly acceptable to divorce without a lawyer. In others, it is a very bad idea. The answer to this question depends on your case and the issues at hand. Generally, the issues that make an […]
Can I lose my inheritance to child support? The question you are asking can also be stated as: Can the Court award child support based on the money I received in an inheritance? Child support is based on income. It is not based on gifts or inheritances. For example, if you receive $25,000.00, the Court […]
This question is dependent on many factors. The very general answer is that the home will be awarded to one party or sold to a third party. To decide what will happen, the Court will look to the wishes of the parties (who wants to stay in the home?), the ability to keep the home […]
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 judges look to keep “family money” within a family. If your parents saved their entire life and leave you money, it should be […]
Question: My wife is pregnant and I don’t think the baby is mine. Do I have to support the baby since we are still legally married: In MA, if you are uncertain as to paternity, the best way to approach the issue is to have a paternity test. The Court may enter orders for support […]
What is a homestead? A homestead is a document that is signed by the homeowner and recorded at the Registry of Deeds. After it is recorded, it protects the equity in your home up to $500,000.00. This document should be filed after you take title (buy) the property. A new homestead should be filed after […]
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 issues. If there is an order for support and an order for parenting time, each of the parties is required to honor […]