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Family Law Attorney

I provide experienced legal guidance in family law, divorce and special education law. I represent parents and families throughout western Massachusetts.

Addressing custody and support issues during divorce-Part I

Children oftentimes take divorce very hard. While their parents are looking forward to a better life ahead after the divorce, the child can feel insecure. In the child's best interest, U.S. courts, including those in Massachusetts, usually award child custody to one parent and order the other parent to pay child support.

However, the term, "child's best interest" can be quite confusing sometimes. Many parents take advantage of that concept to attempt to hurt the other parent. Sometimes, other people also get involved in trying to show that parent in a bad light. But, irresponsible behavior can inflict emotional wounds on the child, which can result in that parent's parental rights being terminated by the court.

The termination of parental rights may be the result of child abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse, alcoholism or neglect. In other words, any irresponsible behavior may result in the parent losing rights over the child. In order to lessen the impact on the child and in the best interest of the child, out-of-court mediation to arrive at child custody agreement is often the better way to go.

In some cases, the custodial parent is not truthful to the child about the non-custodial parent. This is sad and unfortunate and is known as "parental alienation syndrome." A parent may use another approach and give gifts to the child in order to influence the child about child custody issues; a child over 12-years-old very often has a say in child custody matters. If the parent behaves in that manner, it is not in the child's best interest.

Source: The Huffington Post, "A Legal Overview of Child Custody and Support in Divorce Cases," Braid Reid, June 24, 2015

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