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The answer is no. The Guardian Ad Litem report can be, and many times is a deciding factor for the court in terms of how the court would want to determine their decisions given the Guardian Ad Litem is generally an expert in custody and parenting time cases and as a neutral person, they do […]

The law is clear that there is no preferential treatment for a mother in a Massachusetts custody case. Both parents have equal custody and visitation rights. The practicality used to be that there was a significant favor to mothers over fathers even if it was not under the law.  Particularly, with some of the older […]

Usually, it is not. In Massachusetts, if there is an agreement approved by the court, they will not consider legally enforceable side deals that the parents make regarding child custody or parenting time. The courts though factor in what the parties have been doing but it would not necessarily be a legally binding contract if […]

Generally, both legal parents must agree to change the child’s name. In court, if the parties have a dispute, the courts will look at the best interest standard in determining whether the name change should be allowed or not.  There can even be a trial regarding this.

Child support does factor in whether the parents have joint physical custody or not. The child support is still calculated on the income of the parents. If one parent has a higher income and depends on what some of their obligations are, such as health, dental, vision insurance, childcare, and other child support obligations. There […]

In Massachusetts, the answer is no. Child support and parenting time are two separate rights or obligations that the court does not connect at all. You can file a Contempt if a parent is not paying child support, but you cannot restrict the parenting time.

The judges in Massachusetts look at what is in the child’s best interest. This is under General Laws, Chapter 208, Section 31, which includes the happiness and welfare of the children determine their custody. The judges, however, have a significant and broad discretion when determining custody or parenting arrangements. There are a range of factors […]

In Massachusetts, the child does not get to determine visiting a parent if there is a legal order. The court, however, may factor in the child’s input and reasoning behind it. The older the child is and more importantly the more mature and informed their decisions are, the more weight the court is likely to […]

In Massachusetts, the courts can factor in the child’s preference and rationale. The child does not get to decide where they live until they turn 18 years old when custody orders are no longer by the court. Again, the court will look at the child’s best interest and the rationale. The older and more mature […]

The appointment of a parenting coordinator is pursuant to an agreement by the parties. The court will approve this and incorporate it into an Order. There also can be a possibility of the court ordering it without the agreement of the parties. This is under General Laws, Chapters 208, 209, and 209c. A parenting coordinator […]