Massachusetts Child Custody and Visitation Laws

“The arrangements that couples make in order to maintain civility in the midst of their journey to divorce are often most elaborate when the professed top priority is to protect a child.” ― John Irving

Divorce is rarely easy, and even less so when it comes to custody and visitation arrangements for children. In Massachusetts, the top priority of the courts is to determine arrangements that are “in the best interests of the child”, but that may not always be as straightforward as it seems. This is not the time to try and do it yourself. Instead, seek competent legal representation and hire an attorney.

Massachusetts recognizes shared legal custody, sole legal custody, shared physical custody and sole physical custody, as defined under General Laws Chapter 208, s. 31. When a couple files for divorce, both parents are automatically granted temporary shared legal custody. This allows both parents to have equal responsibility (and rights) concerning major decisions like medical care, education and religious development. During what can be contentious times, differing ideas about the schooling or religious upbringing of children can surface. Having an attorney can make sure that these discussions and decisions remain on track and comply with the law. [Continue reading]

Massachusetts Domestic Violence Laws

In the state of Massachusetts, domestic violence laws include physical harm or the intent to physically harm, the infliction of fear of physical harm, and involuntary sexual relationship against a family or other household member. This crime is especially serious if the victim was violated by the suspect while a protective order was in place.

Definition of a household member:

  • people who are or have once been married
  • individuals that have children together
  • individuals that are related through marriage or by blood
  • individuals who live together or have lived together, such as roommates
  • individuals in a dating or engagement relationship if the Court deems such relationship substantive after consideration of several factors, including the length of the relationship, type of relationship, frequency of contact, and duration since the relationship terminated.

Assault can range from actual physical harm or the intent to commit physical harm against another individual. This means that even a serious threat to commit physical harm can be considered assault. Simple assault is in itself a crime, but in Massachusetts, assault against a family or household member is considered a much more serious offense. [Continue reading]

Alternatives to Massachusetts Family Court

Family law disputes such as divorce, child custody, visitation, spousal support are often emotional and can be stressful. When two parties cannot agree, they may believe taking their case to court is the only option. Litigation, however, can be … [Continue reading]

Excellent legal representation

Gary Todd offered amazing legal representation during my case. He was very responsive and trustworthy and explained everything in a language I could understand. I was kept informed during the entire proceeding and felt protected and safe through the … [Continue reading]

The Annulment Process in Massachusetts

Anyone who is no longer happy in their marriage can get a divorce in Massachusetts for just about any reason. However, there are some cases where the marriage should not be legally recognized in the first place. In these situations, an annulment may … [Continue reading]

Child Support Enforcement in Massachusetts

If you're in Massachusetts and dealing with the prospect of a spouse, ex-spouse, or parent not paying their child support payment, you may have to go through Child Support Enforcement. This is a service available through the state and within the … [Continue reading]