Northampton, MA, Family, Criminal, Real Estate Law, Wills and Trusts
Legal solutions that benefit you the most

At the law firm of Zurn, Sharp, Heyman & Dolven, LLP, we know that just as every person is unique, so are their legal problems. And while we have helped hundreds of individuals, families and businesses in Northampton, Amherst, Greenfield and Springfield and throughout western Massachusetts, we look at each case with an eye to developing options that work and that make you feel comfortable. It is a successful approach and one reason most of our business comes from returning clients or through referrals from clients or other lawyers.

Legal services for today and tomorrow

Life is full of legal matters — from issues regarding employment contracts to real estate closings to drafting a will. As experienced attorneys, we strive to learn about you and what your long-term goals may be, allowing us to help you as you transition through life and as your needs change. We provide an array of legal services including:

family-law-active Western Massachusetts — Northampton, MA, Family Law Attorneys
A steady hand to lead you through difficult family law situations

From prenuptial agreements to paternity to divorce, family law issues are emotionally charged. For more than 43 years, the attorneys at the Northampton law firm of Zurn, Sharp, Heyman & Dolven, LLP have applied clarity, compassion and practicality to help individuals, couples and families get optimal resolutions.

Helping western Massachusetts families in divorce matters

If you have decided to proceed with a divorce, our attorneys will help you make decisions on the many issues that are part of the process, including:

  • Division of property — including real estate, business interests, investments and retirement, pension or 401K accounts and division of debts
  • Alimony
  • Child custody — including physical and legal custody, interstate custody, visitation and parenting plans
  • Child support
In the best interests of the children

Coming up with an amicable plan that you and your spouse or partner can agree upon and that allows your children to experience the least amount of turmoil is almost always in the best interests of your children. We can help you with that plan. If you and your spouse or partner cannot resolve matters concerning your children and require court intervention, we will represent you in court with a focus on detail and persuasive positions.

We also help protect your rights as a non-custodial parent or as a grandparent who has played an important role in a child’s life. When your presence enhances the child’s development and contributes to his or her emotional well-being, we will advocate for your visitation rights.

Child support is based on the Child Support Guidelines set forth by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The child support calculator worksheet can be used to give you an idea of the child support order that will be required. As your attorneys, we can help you determine and defend your case for the fairest and most appropriate amount of child support.

Your advocate across a range of family law matters

Our attorneys have experience in all facets of family law, including:

  • Prenuptial and post-marriage agreements
  • Paternity disputes
  • Domestic violence issues
  • Adoption
  • Grandparent visitation
  • Medical and life insurance matters
  • Taxation issues
criminal-law-active Northampton, MA, Greenfield, MA, Western Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyers
Challenging evidence, building a solid case, protecting your rights

Criminal charges can result in life-long consequences. Drug convictions and drunk driving convictions can cause you to lose your freedom, your driving privileges, your professional license, and/or thousands of dollars in fines and court costs. An assault charge can cost you your relationships and your freedom. Some convictions will affect your ability to receive student loans and other forms of assistance. Being charged with, or even guilty of, a crime does not necessarily make you a criminal. Often, good people end up in difficult or bad situations. It is as equally important to humanize our clients as it is to challenge the evidence. Either way, in the end we will argue passionately to achieve the fairest and best result for every client. At the Northampton law firm of Zurn, Sharp, Heyman & Dolven, LLP, we know that creating a smart strategy is crucial to getting you a successful outcome. Our attorneys have earned the respect of judges, court personnel, and prosecutors and have achieved consistent success.

Defending against felony and misdemeanor charges throughout western Massachusetts

Attorney Jon B. Heyman handles our criminal defense cases. He has extensive trial experience and familiarity with the court systems, including the Superior, District and Juvenile courts, in Hampshire, Franklin, Hampden and Berkshire Counties. He has successfully represented clients facing both felony and misdemeanor charges, including:

  • Drug possession and distribution
  • Car theft
  • Probation violations
  • Drunken driving (DWI, DUI, OUI)
  • Larceny
  • Assault and sexual assault
  • Domestic violence
  • Breaking and entering
  • Traffic violations (speeding, reckless driving and driving with a suspended or revoked license)
  • Felony charges in Superior Court

Because of the concentration of colleges and universities in our area — University of Massachusetts, Smith College, Hampshire College, and Amherst College — the law firm frequently helps students with legal needs arising from criminal charges that can adversely affect their ability to stay in school, to obtain scholarships and financial aid and to find gainful employment.

A key to helping every client is fast response to charges. If you have been charged with any crime, get legal help as soon as possible. It is in your best interest. And it is your right.

employment-law-active Employment Law Attorneys Serving Western Massachusetts

The firm provides representation in all areas of employment law. This representation includes but is not limited to disputes related to wrongful termination, discrimination claims, severance agreements, and wage and hour disputes to name a few. We provide experienced practical and cost-effective representation that may include negotiated or mediated results or, if necessary, full-scale litigation to protect your individual rights or your company or organization’s right to make necessary management decisions to maintain the most effective workforce possible. We represent both private and public employees and employers, and we practice in all courts and administrative agencies.

Protecting your right to a fair, safe and just employment situation

As an employee, you are expected to do your job in an honest and efficient manner, upholding your end of the bargain. As an employee, you also have the right to expect your employer to keep your workplace free from discrimination and harassment and to make sure that it is in line with state and federal employment and workplace safety regulations. When your employer fails to meet these obligations, we can help protect your rights and your livelihood.

Resolving contract disputes

One of the most common problems between employer and employee is a contract dispute. One of the best ways to avoid a contract dispute is to have an attorney review your non-compete or restrictive covenant contract, policy manual, severance or general employment contract before you sign. As your employment law attorneys, we make sure that you understand what you are signing, and we may even be able to get you more favorable terms. When dispute resolution is necessary, we are generally able to solve problems through cost-effective methods of negotiation, mediation or arbitration. As with most everything we do, we analyze your case and, if warranted, will take your matter to court.

Freedom from discrimination

Under both state and federal law, discrimination based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability or national origin is in violation of the law. Attorney G. David Sharp has extensive experience representing employees who face discrimination in all aspects of the employment relationship, whether seeking employment, the conditions of employment or the termination of employment. We also counsel and represent workers who have been discriminated against when exercising their rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Protecting your rights in wrongful termination matters

If you were fired because you were a whistle blower who reported a violation, refused to engage in an illegal act on the job or filed a complaint regarding sexual harassment, discrimination or a hostile workplace matter, you may have cause to file a suit against your employer for wrongful termination. When your livelihood is at stake, we are here to vigorously defend your best interests.

real-estate-law-active Northampton, MA, Real Estate Transaction Attorneys
Representing buyers, sellers and lenders

In today’s complex real estate market, it is more important than ever to make sure that the terms of your real estate transaction are reviewed to prevent unexpected delays or disputes. At the Northampton law firm of Zurn, Sharp, Heyman & Dolven, LLP, we know the local real estate market. We understand the current housing situation and offer experienced representation to buyers and sellers to help ensure a smooth transaction from start to finish.

Helping western Massachusetts families in divorce matters

As a buyer or a seller of a house or condominium, you often rely on the advice of your real estate agent. However, only a lawyer can provide you with the legal advice you need to protect your interest. Because a contract is a legally binding document, and because a house is usually the biggest investment most of us ever make, it is in your best interest to have us help you along each step of your real estate sale or purchase.

If you are a purchaser, we can help with:

  • Reviewing and advising you about offers and purchase & sale agreements
  • Evaluating financing options
  • Reviewing closing documents
  • Helping you negotiate counteroffers
  • Reviewing title insurance
  • Reviewing inspection provisions
  • Evaluating and reviewing mortgage documents
  • Representing you at closing

If you are a purchaser, we can help with:

  • Reviewing your listing agreement with your realtor
  • Helping make sure that contingencies are satisfied
  • Reviewing the purchase offer or counteroffer
  • Discussing and reviewing tax implications
  • Drafting deeds and other documents
  • Representing you at closing

Attorneys Zurn and Sharpe are authorized agents CATIC®, New Englands's largest domestic title insurance underwriter.

wills-trusts-estates-active Northampton, MA, Western Massachusetts Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Elder Law Attorneys
The well-drafted will

Your will is the foundation of your estate plan. This is where you specify who receives your property upon your death. As part of a will, you appoint a personal representative who is responsible for carrying out your wishes. If you have young children, it also allows you to appoint a guardian. A will should be carefully drafted and executed with the assistance of an Elder Law Attorney to ensure your instructions are not ambiguous and the document meets state law requirements.

The importance of a health proxy

A health care proxy is another important piece of your estate plan that informs your family, medical professionals, and the court as to whether or not you want extraordinary medical measures to be taken in the event that those treatments would be the only way to sustain life. Your designated health care proxy makes those medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. If you have been diagnosed with a serious or advancing illness, you may also want to execute a Massachusetts Order Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) form with your physician. These documents should be carefully considered with the assistance of your physician and an Elder Law Attorney to ensure your desires are carefully drafted and consistent with state law.

The importance of a power of attorney

What happens if you suddenly become incapacitated? Who will take care of your bills and financial decisions? By discussing your options, we can help you develop a power of attorney that is comprehensive and gives your agent (the person to whom you are granting power of attorney) the right to act.

Creating trusts, including family and special needs trusts

A trust is an instrument that may allow you, depending on your needs, to minimize taxes, protect your estate from creditors or provide for management of funds for your minor children, young adult children, or special needs family members. Trusts are often useful planning tools for people who want to provide for their current spouse, but also provide for their children from a prior marriage or relationship. Maybe you have a child with a disability and you want to know how you can provide for their care in the future without jeopardizing their social security or other public benefits. In that case, you want an attorney who understands and can explain the benefits of Supplemental Needs Trusts. An Elder Law Attorney is familiar with these situations and will work to understand your specific needs to find the right planning tool for you.

Issues affecting the Elderly

Like you, we want to minimize the need for your family member’s estate to be supervised by the Probate Court. We can help you with your estate planning to minimize the need of Probate Court actions and expense. But, should you need to probate an estate or challenge a will or trust, for example, we can litigate with and for you.

Are you concerned about your parents getting on in years? Are you worried they may need more help with their finances or their physical care? We are here to listen to your concerns and discuss the options available for your aging loved ones. If necessary, we can help with guardianships, conservatorships, Medicaid planning for long-term care and more. We are here to help.

Probate issues

Like you, we want to minimize the need for your family member's estate to be "supervised" by the Probate Court. We can help you with estate planning to reduce the need for Probate Court actions and expense. But, should you need to probate an estate or challenge a will or accounting, for example, we can and will litigate with and for you.

personal-injury-active Western Massachusetts — Northampton, MA, Personal Injury Attorneys
Personal Injury

The time may come in which you or a member of your family is injured in an accident. When this happens, your main focus, or that of a loved one or family member, is to heal and get better. Our job is to handle all aspects of a claim with insurance companies, to work with medical providers to get medical records, and to file actions in court if necessary. No matter what the injury or the cause of the injury (such as a motor vehicle accident, a slip and fall, an accident caused by negligence or product defect), we will help you understand your rights, navigate insurance issues, and make and litigate, if necessary, your claims against those responsible for your injury. We will work with you to gather all the facts needed to present your best case, and as experienced litigators, we will pursue your rights and remedies, both in and out of court.

  • family-law
    family law
  • criminal-law
    criminal law
  • employment-law
    employment law
  • real-estate-law
    real estate law
  • wills-trusts-estates
    wills, trusts, estates, probate & elder law
  • personal-injury
    personal injury

When we handle your legal matters, we evaluate your case and explain your options. We are mindful of your concerns, your preferences and your budget. Our lawyers employ multiple methods of resolution including negotiation and mediation. If it is necessary to take your case to court, we are experienced and skilled litigators who will work with you to present your best case to the courts.

Contact our attorneys

We have provided practical, personalized counsel and representation across a range of legal matters to individuals and businesses in Hampshire, Franklin, Hampden and Berkshire Counties since 1977. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact us online or call us at 413.586.0264. We offer after-hours appointments.