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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.

Child Custody Archives

Know what to expect with child custody visitation rights

As we have stressed in the past, the divorce is never easy and seldom painless for all parties involved. Although on occasions both spouses are on the same pages with many of the decisions that need to be made, this is rare. More often than not, there are differences of opinions, beliefs and wishes. This leads to disagreements. Add to it the fact that there is often animosity, resentment and hurt feelings, and things can get complicated and occasionally messy.

What conditions can be placed on visitation in Massachusetts?

This blog has dealt with several types of custody issues that people in Massachusetts might encounter. We've previously discussed some of the basics of the best interests of the child standard applied by family courts in the state, and the general types of custody, such as legal and physical, as well as sole and shared. However, when physical custody is awarded to one parent, it is customary for a court to grant the other parent some form of visitation so that he or she can be involved in the child's life.

'Shared custody implementation plans' in Massachusetts

This blog has previously mentioned the difference between types of child custody under Massachusetts family law. There are two important distinctions to remember in custody cases: that between physical and legal custody, and between shared and sole custody. Physical custody determines with whom a child resides, and legal custody has to do with who makes important decisions regarding the child's life and well-being. Sole custody is where either residence or decision-making capacity rests with one person, while shared custody will give it to two individuals, usually parents, simultaneously.

Ensure the best child custody situation for a special needs child

Raising a child with special needs is challenging. But, what many people do not know is that it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Parents of special needs children, just like other families, sometimes decide to go their separate ways. When there are separate households, the determination of which parent will provide for the special needs child will be decided by the child custody arrangement.

Tips for separated Massachusetts parents around the holidays

Oftentimes, before parents make the big decision to divorce, there is a trial separation period. Separated couples are simply married couples who are no longer living together as typical married couples, and they tend to make some decisions solo instead of as a unit. Separation can give married couples a chance to cool down and get back together or it could solidify the idea that a permanent separation, or divorce, is the best thing for them and their family. When parents are separated over the holidays it can be stressful and overwhelming to have a change in the holiday routine, both for the parents and for the children.

How is Massachusetts child custody determined?

There aren't many things more important to a parent than their child. This is true even when parents decide to make the difficult decision to divorce. The children are always high on a parent's priority list, which is why most parents have questions pertaining to the child custody process and how it is determined. Child custody determinations are based on a number of different factors all pertaining to a child's best interests.

How co-parenting can affect a child custody arrangement

When thinking about proceeding with a Massachusetts divorce, the number one question parents usually have is about their children. They want to make sure the divorce doesn't negatively impact their children, and rightly so. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of parents in MA co-parenting their children from separate households. While this child custody arrangement and parenting style is usually a success, there can be some gray-area associated with co-parenting that can leave a parent with a few questions.

Ground-breaking MA Supreme court ruling on child custody

Massachusetts has been a leader in issues pertaining to family law and same-sex marriage in recent year's past. Most recently, a ruling has come down from Massachusetts highest court that pertains to child custody and biological parental rights. The landmark case is the first of its kind with such precedence in the state. While its ruling mostly affects same-sex parents, it can have an impact on child custody situations involving traditional marriages or grandparents who have cared for children in a parental role.

If a judge assigns reasonable visitation, what does this mean?

Kids need as many positive influences in their lives as possible. Adults, including parents, are incredibly influential in a child's life. This is why judges sometimes assign visitation in cases where parents are not granted custody. Even if a child's parents are not together, it is still best for a parent to be involved in the child's life as a positive influence, when appropriate.

Child custody modification can be made if unfit custody scenario

If you and your child's parent have a child custody arrangement that needs an overhaul, you should be considering how a child custody modification could benefit your family. Depending on the circumstances, the custody arrangement may need modification for a number of reasons. Maybe the child is getting older and needs or wants a different arrangement based on their school or work schedule. Maybe one or the other parent has had a hard time sticking to the original arrangement for whatever reason. There are ways to legally amend the existing child custody arrangement to make it a better arrangement for you and your family.

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Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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