Amaral & Associates, P.C. - Divorce, Family Law

Posts Tagged parenting time

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 »



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 »



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

child custody, custody battle, custody case, parenting Massachusetts, parent, parenting plans, parenting Massachusetts, parent

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 … Read More »



What is a Guardian ad Litem? Do I Need a GAL for My Custody Case?

Custody

In high conflict child custody cases in Massachusetts, it is not uncommon for the court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem (also known as a GAL). However, many parents do not know what a GAL is, and what a GAL is supposed to do in a child custody case until the GAL is appointed. If you are a parent in a high conflict child custody case, it is important to know who a GAL is and what he/she does before the case even starts.

 

Q: What is a GAL?

A: A GAL is a person (usually a Family Law Attorney or mental health professional who works with families) appointed by the court to investigate the issue of child custody and/or parenting time for a family in the midst of a child custody case.

 

Q: What does the GAL do?

A: The GAL is required to conduct an investigation whereby he/she speaks with the parents, child(ren), and anyone else necessary and relevant to the case (e.g. school teachers, doctors, family friends, family members, family therapists, etc.) The GAL will also review any relevant documents for the … Read More »



Child Custody & Visitation Mediation

Child Custody & Visitation Mediation FAQ’s

Do you wish there was a way to make getting a separation from your significant other or divorce from your spouse easier on your children?

Mediation helps preserve and maintain whatever is left of the good part of your relationship by significantly reducing the tension of getting a divorce. Parties who mediate their family law matters are typically able to reach an agreement that first serves the “best interests” of their children and then themselves.

Who is best suited to make decisions about your children?

Typically the parties are more satisfied by having arrived at their own “solutions” to the problems as opposed to having a judge ram a decision against you both that neither party may like.

How do you know if mediation is right for you?

Mediation may be an option if each party wants to save money for their children’s interest instead of paying excessive fees to their lawyers and if both parties wish to reach and create a thorough agreement in a short period of time usually a month or so as opposed to waiting close to 14 months for the traditional … Read More »



Child Custody and Removal in Massachusetts

It is not uncommon after (or even during) a divorce, a parent seeks to move outside of Massachusetts with the couple’s children. Not only does this impact the custody arrangement between parents, but it can impact the relationship between the children and both parents as well.

Because the impact such a move can have between children and parents, the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court does not take such a move lightly. In typical custody cases, where both parents live near one another, the court applies the legal standard of the “best interests of the child.” This means the court considers what is best for the child when it comes to custody and a parenting plan.

However, when one parent seeks to move out of state with the parties’ children, there is a higher legal burden on that parent than just the “best interests” standard. In such cases, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 208 §30, a parent must either obtain the consent of the other parent to move out of state with the children, or obtain the approval of the court. Where court intervention … Read More »



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