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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How are Massachusetts child custody issues resolved?

As many Massachusetts residents can attest, divorce can be trying. Divorce can be especially challenging for those with children. Child custody is among the most difficult to settle divorce issues. When it comes to arranging such matters, the best interests of the child are always at the forefront.

Many of those with children already have an idea of what constitutes the best interests of their children. However, they may be unsure as to how these interests are defined in divorce cases and how such cases are ultimately resolved.

How are child custody issues resolved? Generally, there are three main ways in which child custody issues can be solved. Often, with the help of attorneys, child custody matters can be settled in a process of informal settlement negotiations. Another way in which such matters can be resolved is through a process of mediation. Again, attorneys are usually there to assist in this process. Finally, there are cases where the court will decide on custody and visitation issues.

Sometimes, too, someone other than parents may wish to seek custody. There are procedures that are unique to these cases. For one, often the person, whether it be an aunt, uncle, grandparent or family friend, must fill out a document called a, "non-parental custody petition," or something along those lines.

Whether it is a parent, grandparent or family friend, seeking custody can be a difficult undertaking. Sometimes, it can wear on even the most patient of people. Thankfully, there are attorneys available who can help guide those seeking custody through such issues and, in many cases, come upon a resolution that is in line with the best interests of the child, as well as the custody seeker.

Source:, "How Child Custody Decisions Are Made," accessed on Sept. 22, 2015

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