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Posts Tagged visitation

Handling a Child Custody Case

Handling a Child Custody CaseThere are not many other types of court cases that are more emotional and stressful than a child custody case. Because emotions are running high during these types of cases, parents can sometimes fall into pitfalls and traps, which can ultimately hurt their case down the road. Here are some tips for parents going through child custody cases.

Talk to Your Children. Parents should NEVER actively involve children in any pending child custody litigation. These are more “adult” conversations for the parents, their attorneys and the court. However, if a child has questions or concerns about what the child custody case, parents should try to answer the child’s questions and address the child’s concerns. These conversations should be age appropriate conversations, and should not, in any, disparage the other parent. A child shouldn’t feel that they have to take sides through this process. Even though the children aren’t actively involved in the litigation, they will still know what is going on, and most likely will be stress because of it. Try to Co-Parent with the Other Parent: Even during a custody case, parents … Read More »



Co-Parenting and Visitation During the Holidays After a Divorce

Co-Parenting and Visitation During the Holidays After a DivorceHolidays can be an exciting time for families. They can include family gatherings, big meals, and other fun events. But they can also be a stressful time for parents and children when negotiating a visitation schedule or co-parenting plan resulting from a divorce. This can mean maintaining different schedules and children splitting their time between their mother’s family and their father’s family. This can lead to stress and aggravation for not only the parents, but for the children as well.

There are, however, ways to prevent this. When negotiating a parenting plan or visitation scheduling in the midst of a divorce, parents should consider not just the regular weekly visitation schedule or parenting plan, but holidays as well. When drafting a visitation schedule or parenting plan, the parents should consider what traditions, events, and functions, both the mother’s family and the father’s family have, and try to develop a visitation schedule or parenting plan that accommodates all of these factors, and allows the children to … Read More »



Pets increasingly at center of divorce battles

Can you imagine being separated from your adorable, furry companion? Increasingly, pets are becoming subjects of contention for couples undergoing divorce. In some cases, pets are even included in prenuptial arrangements, also known as “pre-pups.”

There are nearly 179 million cats and dogs living in U.S. homes, according to the Human Society of the United States. Pet ownership has surged over the years, and many Americans would rather go to court than leave a bad marriage even more alone.

“It’s essential a couple that has a pet deal with these with issues because pets aren’t treated in the same way under the laws,” said attorney Ann-Margaret Carrozza.

Vicki Ziegler, star of Bravo cable network show “Untying the Knot” about divorce battles, wrote in her July 2 blog: “Conflicts over pets can be just as important to divorcing spouses as any issue when both spouses have developed a special connection to a furry friend that they love and care for day-in and day-out. This feeling can be even greater when the couple has no children and the animal has taken on the role of the … Read More »



Hey, Divorced Parents, How About Going Beyond Civility?

I’m living with my ex-husband again. It’s not what you think.

When we married in the spring of 1998, before wedding registries were online and photos were still shot on film, our chances of staying together forever looked pretty darn good. Great, in fact. We were 26-year-old college graduates who had dated for four years, came from loving families and agreed on all of the basic fundamental issues in life.

Twelve years later, with a 4-year-old daughter, we split after two years of concerted effort to salvage our union that included couples therapy. We were the couple who still touched each other, talked to each other and spent time together. Our friends, neighbors and families were heartbroken, a couple to the point that they seemed more concerned with their own sadness than what was happening to us. But what hurt the most was the thought (spoken or not) that we were not considering our daughter and that our decision would cause her harm.

Neither were true. And, so far, we see no evidence of harm. Impact, yes. Harm, no. The impact hasn’t … Read More »



Massachusetts custody proposal rightly stresses time with both parents

Slowly but surely, Massachusetts is reshaping its laws around divorce. First, a task force of experts and advocates prompted a sweeping overhaul of outdated alimony laws. And two years ago, the governor’s office convened a similar committee to review the state’s child custody laws. That committee’s work is done, and the result is promising: a proposal that acknowledges that, in most circumstances, children benefit from significant time with both parents. This would put Massachusetts in line with other states that are updating their custody laws, and is worthy of the governor’s support and the Legislature’s action.

The changes to state code, if passed, would directly affect only a small portion of divorce cases: the 10 to 15 percent of couples who cannot reach an agreement through negotiation or mediation, and instead rely on the courts. But child advocates say the changes would establish expectations for all splitting families, and set the tone for settlement negotiations, by prioritizing the well-being of children over the competing interests of the parents.

Significantly, the proposal would change some of the adversarial language that’s currently in state code, replacing “custody” with “residential responsibility” and “decision-making responsibility,” and … Read More »



Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media: A Party’s Best Friend or Worst Nightmare in Family Law

Any matter pending in a family court is emotional and difficult for both parties. There are all types of cases that are heard by family courts: divorces, child custody and visitation, child support, paternity, and many more types of cases. Within these types of case, many issues are addressed, such as property division, the income and financial needs of a party, and the suitability of a party to parent and care for children.

Like in any other court of law, each party in any family court case has to prove his or her case with evidence. Increasingly, social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites are being used as evidence in these cases. This evidence can be the best friend of the party offering the evidence, and the worse enemy of the other party. But how is these social media sites being used?

For cases involving child support and alimony, or any other aspect that includes the financial needs of a party, these sites can be used to show that a party is actually working, … 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 »



Massachusetts Woman Sues State To Prevent Rapist From Pursuing Visitation Rights With Child

By Jonathan Wolfe, Wed, August 21, 2013

In July, we told you about the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, or RSCCA. The RSCCA is a bill working its way through the House of Representatives that would forbid convicted rapists of seeking custody rights to a child conceived during their rape.

Thirty-one states currently have no custodial rights protection for mothers of children conceived during rape.

Massachusetts is one of these states. The ongoing case of a Massachusetts woman identified as H.T. is becoming the latest example of why states need to beef up their child custody protection legislation against rapists.

H.T. was raped by Jaime Melendez in 2011. She was 14 at the time. Melendez broke into her house while H.T.’s mother was gone and forced her to have sex with him. She became pregnant and decided to keep the child.

Melendez showed no interest in the child until last year, when a judge ordered he pay H.T. $110.00 per week child support. Upset by his child support payments, Melendez filed a motion with a Massachusetts family court saying that if he should have visitation rights to the child if he has to pay child support.

H.T., distraught by the … Read More »



Paternity Issues in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, if a child is born out of wedlock, the child’s biological father is not deemed to be the child’s legal father, unless paternity is established. Establishing paternity is important for many reasons, and can be done in multiple ways.

The easiest way to establish paternity is when the child is born, the child’s biological father may sign a form known as an acknowledgement of paternity, in which he states and acknowledges that he is the father of the child. In this case, when the form is properly signed, the father’s name will then appear on the child’s birth certificate, and then the father is legally deemed to be the father of the child.

Another way to establish paternity is by a court order. Either the mother or the father may file a Complaint to Establish Paternity with the Probate and Family Court. Here, this is a formal legal case that is heard by a judge of the Probate and Family Court. Typically once a Complaint for Paternity is filed by either parent, then the court will order DNA testing for … 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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