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What Are the Differences Between an ARC Attorney, Guardian ad Litem and Parenting Coordinator?

In high conflict custody cases in Massachusetts, there are many experts that can become involved in your case to help with the conflict and pending issues. The most common experts are Guardians ad Litem, Parenting Coordinators, and ARC Attorneys. However, many parents often confuse these roles. This article will explain what each role is and the difference between these types of experts.

 

 

Guardian ad Litem

A Guardian ad Litem (also known as a GAL) is one of the most common experts in a high conflict custody case. A GAL is typically appointed by the court to investigate the pending issues in the case. A Guardian ad Litem is either a mental health professional that works with divorced or separated families, or a Family Law attorney.

 

Oftentimes, the GAL is asked to investigate the facts of the case and then make recommendations for legal custody, physical custody, and parenting time. A GAL is oftentimes also charged with investigating other issues that arise such as substance abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse. Ultimately, the GAL … Read More »



The Legal Status of Parent Coordinators in Massachusetts- An Update

Parenting coordinator Massachusetts

In 2014 we blogged about the legal status of Parent Coordinators in Massachusetts. The article was written just after the Supreme Judicial Court decided the case of Bower v. Bournay-Bower. However, since that decision came down in September 2014, a lot has changed.

 

For those who do not know what a Parenting Coordinator is, a Parenting Coordinator is a trained attorney or mental health professional who has a background in child custody and parenting time disputes assist parents to resolve and reach agreement concerning disagreements about co-parenting, custody, and the parenting schedule.

 

Parent Coordinators are commonly used in child custody and parenting matters in Massachusetts to facilitate resolving disputes between parents on issues relating children of divorce and children born out of wedlock. The Parent Coordinator typically acts as a referee to rule on any disputes, or works more like a mediator to help the parents negotiate and resolve any dispute. Using Parent Coordinators can be an effective tool in assisting parents in avoiding lengthy litigation in the Probate and Family Court to resolve custody and parenting … Read More »



Creating New Holiday Traditions for Children After a Divorce

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Divorce is difficult for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for children. Once parents decide to divorce, the children then have to face the reality of their parents no longer living under the same roof. This is a difficult transition for almost all children, but it can be especially difficult at the holidays. Parents should stress to their children that it is okay to enjoy the holidays during this difficult time—at both parent’s homes.

 

But to help children transition to this new structure of the family, parents should consider developing new traditions that the family as a whole did not do before. This can be something very small, such as selecting a Christmas tree from a specific place, or baking holiday cookies with your children, or something bigger, such as a nice vacation.

 

On the same hand, though, parents should also try to maintain some consistency. If there … Read More »



FAQ’s About Divorce in Massachusetts

Here are some common FAQ’s About Divorce in Massachusetts:

 

Q: Should I file first for divorce?

A: The answer to this question is largely a case-specific answer.

 

The determination of value of assets, which goes to the equitable division of marital assets pursuant to M.G.L. c. 208 §34, is determined from the date of marriage to the date the Defendant was served. Thus, if the plaintiff intends on acquiring substantial assets in the future, it could be beneficial to file for divorce prior to acquiring these assets.

 

Additionally, should the divorce case go to trial, the Plaintiff has the right to present their case first, along with the right of rebuttal after the Defendant has presented his/her side of the case. Being able to be the party to present his/her case first at trial can set the tone of the trial, and leave an impression on the judge.

 

However, divorce is also a very emotional and personal decision. If you believe that you are not emotionally ready to file for divorce, or that the marriage may still … Read More »



Types of Child Custody in Massachusetts

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Legal custody is the “decision making” custody. The parent or parents who have legal custody of a child have the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s care and upbringing, such as … Read More »



When Can a Parent Receive a Retroactive Credit on Child Support?

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The New 2017 Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines: What’s New? What’s the Same?

Child Support Massachusetts, Child Support Mass., Child Support Suffolk County, Child Support Middlesex County, Child Support Essex County, Child Support Norfolk County, Child Support Boston, Child Support Winthrop, Child Support East Boston, Child Support Revere, Child Support Danvers, Child Support Lynnfield, Child Support Marblehead, Child Support Swampscott, Child Support Nahant, Child Support Peabody, Child Support Salem, Child Support Saugus, Child Support Arlington, Child Support Belmont, Child Support Burlington, Child Support Cambridge, Child Support Everett, Child Support Malden, Child Support Medford, Child Support Melrose, Child Support North Reading, Child Support Reading, Child Support Somerville, Child Support Stoneham, Child Support Wakefield, Child Support Watertown, Child Support Wilmington, Child Support Winchester, Child Support Woburn, Child Support Brookline, Child Support Braintree, Child Support Milton, Child Support Quincy, Child Support ChelseaThe Trial Court of Massachusetts issued new Child Support Guidelines, which took effect last week on September 15th. There are many changes to the new Guidelines, but also a lot of things stayed the same. This article will explain the changes to the new Guidelines, but what also stayed the same compared to the 2013 Child Support … Read More »



The Benefits of Engaging a Parenting Coordinator

The Benefits of Engaging a Parenting CoordinatorA Parent Coordinator is a Family Law Attorney or mental health professional who works with families relating to child custody and parenting time, whereby the Parent Coordinator assists parents to resolve and reach agreement concerning disagreements about co-parenting, custody, and the parenting schedule. Parent Coordinators are commonly used in child custody and parenting matters in Massachusetts as a way to resolve disputes without going to court. The Parent Coordinator typically acts as a referee to rule on any disputes, or works more like a mediator to help the parents negotiate and resolve any dispute.

 

Some parents look at Parent Coordinators as someone who is a referee and quasi-judge who decides which parent “wins” or “loses” specific disputes regarding co-parenting. Rather, a parenting coordinator is more like a mediator, who helps both parents work through a dispute and come to a relatively amicable resolution without the need for going back to court. This reduces the time needed to resolve the dispute (since it can be done privately and out of court), and can help preserve the … Read More »



How to Effectively Co-Parent At the Beginning of a Divorce

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Unhappy family and child custody battle concept sketched on sticky note paper

When parents divorce, there can be a significant impact on the children. For divorces involving children, some judges have referred to such a divorce as a corporate reshuffling, and say that the family corporation remains the same, but has undergone some reshuffling. That is to say, the family unit continues to exist, but in a slightly different format. From the moment parents decide to divorce, they have to realize that although they may no longer be a couple, they will always be co-parents. For this reason, parents have to continue to co-parent their children, regardless of the divorce. To effectively co-parent, parents should follow these tips below:

 

Show a United Front to the Children. From the time you tell your children that you are divorcing, all through the divorce, parents should be a united front for their children. They should agree when and how to tell the children that they are divorcing, and continue to communicate … Read More »



How to Help Your Child Emotionally Through a Divorce or Child Custody Matter

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