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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.

Considering a child's special needs in child custody decisions

Children are beautiful and unique reminders of how innocent life can be. For Massachusetts parents who have had to go through divorce, it can be terribly upsetting to inflict the stress and strain of a marital dissolution on kids whose lives should be filled with happiness. However, it is often best for everyone in a family for the parents' relationship to end and when a divorce is occurring there are important steps that parents can take to protect the unique needs of their children.

First and foremost, like the family courts that handle divorce and related legal matters, parents can recognize and acknowledge the best interests of their kids. All children have needs and preferences that may be accommodated during divorce, but some children who suffer from physical, emotional, intellectual and mental disabilities can require extra attention and care. If one parent is better suited to manage the day-to-day needs of a special needs child then it can be in that child's best interests for the parents to agree to a custody arrangement that allows the child to reside with that individual.

Additionally, depending upon the plans of the parents and the needs of a child, it can be in a child's best interests to remain with a parent who does not plan to move so that the child may continue medical treatments and therapies or remain in a specialized school that accommodates their special condition. Although some kids may be able to move from house to house in shared custodial plans or may benefit from spending time traveling with a parent, some special needs kids can thrive when they are allowed to follow their routines and maintain normalcy in their lives.

How parents settle the custodial matters related to their children should depend on the best interests of the kids. As all children have their own unique needs it is important that parents work with legal professionals who can help them make sound determinations regarding the physical and legal custody of their children.

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Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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