Welcome to

Mass Family Advocacy Coalition

Our mission is to support women and children by promoting an efficient, accessible family court system that provides fair, safe, and uniform justice.

What we do

Through advocacy, collaboration, and education, we provide workable solutions to strengthen the family court system for all.

RECENT EVENT

Family Law Symposium

On April 5, 2024 MFAC, along with MLRI, WBA, WBF and the Social Law Library sponsored a Family Law Symposium entitled “The Prevalence and Impact of Domestic Abuse in Contested Custody Cases and Parenting Plans” at Boston College Law School. Over 100 lawyers, judges, probation officers, advocates, and other interested parties attended the event.

The keynote speaker was Joan Meier, distinguished National Family Law Violence Professor of Clinical Law and Director of the National Family Law Violence Center at George Washington University School of Law.

SPOUSAL SUPPORT UPDATE

On March 7, 2024, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided in Openshaw v. Openshaw that routine saving is to be considered in the determination of alimony where the parties' postdissolution income is sufficient for each party to continue to live the marital lifestyle. With this decision, Massachusetts joins the vast majority of other states that have considered this issue.

Read MFAC's amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts supporting savings as a need for alimony recipients and explaining why alimony should be calculated on the parties' income, not expenses.

MFAC WORKING REPORT

Read MFAC's Equitable & Accessible Justice for All - A Working Report on the Massachusetts Family Court System. The Report details issues experienced by our members and makes recommendations for change.

BILLS UPDATE

MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENTS:

Here is the status of the Coercive Control and Abusive Litigation bills introduced in the Massachusetts Legislature in 2023:

  • On January 10, 2024, the Massachusetts House unanimously passed An Act to Prevent Abuse and Exploitation, H4241. The legislation addresses teen sexting and image-based sexual assault, commonly referred to as “revenge porn;” expands the definition of abuse to include coercive control for the purposes of obtaining a restraining order; and extends the statute of limitations for certain domestic violence offenses from six years to 15 years. The bill is now in the Senate for action. 
  • H1399/S1079, An Act relative to controlling and abusive litigation, is still being reviewed by the Judiciary Committee. Due to the moving testimony at the hearing in September 2023, the Judiciary Committee initiated a conversation with the Courts to address the problems and harms of abusive litigation detailed by survivors. In response, the Massachusetts courts added the issue of abusive litigation on their website and indicated they will be issuing judicial guidance to urge judges to know and apply current laws related to frivolous litigation to cases.

press release

NEW COALITION:

MFAC is pleased to announce that our organization has joined Together Rising Above Coercive Control (TRAC). TRAC is a state-wide coalition made up of individuals and organizations advocating to expand protections for victims of domestic abuse and their children by securing additional laws and statutes in Massachusetts, including those targeting coercive control and abusive litigation.

Learn more about TRAC here.

WHO WE ARE

OUR FOUNDING MEMBERS:

Forged by their own experiences with the Massachusetts family court system, MFAC was founded by a grassroots group of women who seek a fair, safe, and streamlined family court system for all and that ensures the best interests of children.

Our collective experiences  have shown that the family court system is under-resourced and at risk for misuse and inequities, the judicial outcomes are unpredictable, and the expense and delay are unconstrained.

These systemic shortfalls are barriers to accessible and equitable justice for families.

With the legendary phoenix as our emblem, we believe that each challenge brings an opportunity for change and renewal and a better family court system for all.

MFAC was formed by members and leaders of the Awareness and Advocacy Committee at Jane Does Well, an organization that was created to support women undergoing the challenges of divorce.

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