Massachusetts Attorneys: Child Custody and Visitation
Nothing is more important to a parent than a child.
Even the most well-intentioned parents can have disputes over child custody and visitation. Emotions run high when parents are forced to make these decisions, especially when there are many unknowns. Contacting an attorney is the first step toward protecting your parental rights. Consulting with a lawyer will give you critical insight into the process and the legal realities you will face.
If you are involved in a custody dispute, we encourage you to contact the Law Offices of Sheila C. Harrington. Our firm provides experienced representation in all child custody or visitation-related matters, including:
- Child custody agreements: A determination must be made as to which parent the child will reside with (physical custody), and how the parents will share responsibility in making major decisions about the child’s upbringing (legal custody). Depending upon the needs of the child and the parents’ ability to cooperate in decision making, the arrangement could involve sole or shared physical custody, and sole or shared legal custody.
- Visitation/parenting time schedules: Parenting schedules can be made to suit the needs of each party. However, in order for the court to approve a custody and visitation arrangement, it must clearly set forth how parenting time will be divided, including weekends, holidays, school vacations, etc.
- Child Support: Even in shared physical custody arrangements, the child will likely spend more time residing with one parent. The secondary parent will therefore be ordered to pay child support in accordance with Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. Please note, these guidelines do take into account the support provided during parenting time periods.
- Relocation disputes after a divorce: In most circumstances, it is in the best interests of the children to maintain meaningful contact with both parents. A move out-of-state will likely make the current visitation schedule burdensome — impacting the time the other parent and child have together. Therefore, both the other parent and the court must be given proper notice of any proposed relocation.
- Guardian ad Litem investigations: When child custody issues are disputed, the court may appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to perform a thorough investigation and submit an evaluation. These evaluations provide the court with information needed to determine what is in the best interests of the child. We can assist clients in preparing for these critical investigations. Clients benefit from our experience and knowledge of GAL investigations, particularly the advice of attorney Sheila C. Harrington, a certified GAL in Massachusetts.
- Paternity: In situations where the child was born to unmarried parents, a paternity action may be necessary if the father was not listed on the original birth certificate. In this case, paternity must be established before the father can request visitation/parenting time or pursue custody.
Representation throughout Central Massachusetts
Our office is conveniently located in Groton, Massachusetts, at the intersection of Middlesex, and Worcester Counties. We represent clients throughout central Massachusetts and the Nashoba Valley area.
Our attorneys, Sheila C. Harrington and Patrice Brymner, are highly familiar with local procedures, attorneys and courts. If you need experienced legal representation from a divorce and family law attorney who will work diligently on your behalf, we encourage you to contact our firm.
For a moderate fee you can come in and meet with one of our experienced attorneys to discuss your situation and assess your legal options.
To schedule an appointment or to speak with a member of our firm, call (978)448-9601, or contact us by e-mail.