Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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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.

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Family law custody issue in Massachusetts can be contentious

Massachusetts parents try to do what is best for their children. This universal fact can result in a contentious discussion in a family law matter when a couple seeks to end their marriage. The negotiations regarding child custody and support can be some of the most difficult a couple faces as each party navigates the divorce process.

In many cases, Massachusetts parents work to negotiate a settlement as to child custody. However, in some cases the court determines the issues. This is true if parents cannot agree as to what is best for their child or of there are unusual circumstances that are in need of court intervention.

In some family law cases, the parents making a decision over child custody have never been married. When this is the case, there can be additional issues to determine in a child custody case, including establishing parentage. However, despite their marital status, parents work to claim their children in our state in an effort to what they think is best.

In one such matter that may be of interest to those of us in Massachusetts, a man is fighting to obtain child custody of his young son. At issue in this unique case is the fact that the boy was conceived through a fertilization process, using a sperm donor and his biological mother. Unfortunately, the biological mother of the child committed suicide, leaving the man to raise the child while fighting for child custody due to the technical parentage of the boy. At issue is the wish of the now-deceased mother to have her boyfriend act as the guardian of her child.

This child custody matter is one that does not occur commonly. Nevertheless, this man is seeking to obtain child custody because he believes that is what is in the best interests of the young child. The court will likely take all factors into consideration as it seeks to determine what will best suit the child at the center of the family law proceedings. Those facing these difficult and often emotional issues will surely benefit from gaining an understanding of the applicable laws and procedures in their jurisdiction.

Source: New York Post, "Exec in child-custody fight after girlfriend's suicide -- because anonymous sperm donor is the 'biological father'," Julia Marsh, Jan. 18, 2013

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