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In DCF Fair Hearings, what does a Litigant need to Prove at the DCF Fair Hearing?  The parent or caretaker must show that the DCF 51A Investigators decision that was supported by reasonable cause or substantial evidence. The Fair Hearing determines whether DCF decisions or the actions that they took violated regulations or that DCF […]

In Massachusetts what are some general paperwork that is helpful to have in a Divorce?  Gathering various documents and keeping them outside the marital home would be beneficial. Obtaining a certified copy of the marriage certificate from the town or city you were married in.  A church certificate is not valid, and the certificate needs […]

Does the Parents Parental Rights need to be terminated in order to Allow a Guardianship?                                                                                                      No.  Many times, in Juvenile Court in a care and protection case, DCF or the Court will want a Termination in Parental Rights, but that does need to occur.  In Probate and Family Court, there is more often no Termination […]

What are ways to Raise Grandchildren in Massachusetts if the Parents are unable, unwilling or unavailable?  One, is there is an unformal process where it is a temporary situation, but you have no legal authority, nor do you have legal authority to sign anything at the school or with the doctors.  The parents have legal […]

What should I do if DCF is looking like they are going to try and take custody of my Grandchild?  DCF can be involved with your grandchildren or similar circumstances even if you are an aunt, uncle or other family members.  There is a variation of steps that you can take depending on the circumstances.  […]

Does DCF always go to Court if a 51A is supported?  No.  Most times if a 51A is supported or what is called a 51B, DCF may seek to offer services to the family rather than going to court to try and take custody.  You would be advised to determine whether you would want to […]

In Massachusetts how many opportunities for a Custody Hearing are there in Massachusetts?  When DCF is involved, there can always be different circumstances, but there are a couple of different types of custody hearings that you have. One is a “72-Hour Hearing”.  This is where the Department must show that there is enough evidence to […]

What is Termination of Parental Rights in Massachusetts?  Termination of Parental Rights is the most extreme example that you can have in a child custody case. It can occur in a variation of different circumstances. When Massachusetts or DCF determines that a child is in a situation that is unsafe or is subject to neglect […]

In Massachusetts there are both guardianships and adoption. A guardianship can be a temporary guardianship.  There can be review dates in 90 days or 6 months or it can be called a “Permanent Guardianship”, even a permanent guardianship does not automatically mean that the parents lose parental rights.  Typically, the parents have the right to […]

I know somebody that got this, or my friend got this in their divorce, so I want the same thing, can this happen?  Every case is unique and there are different Judges, different parties, different set of facts and it is not something that is standardized where all the results automatically happen at the same […]