If you're in the midst of divorcing or finalizing a divorce in Massachusetts, it's important to begin looking ahead and making plans for what happens after the dust settles. One of those things that you need to consider is what changes may need to be made to your estate plan given your recent divorce. Most experts say that estate plans need to be changed when major life events occur, divorce being chief among them. If you find yourself facing estate planning after divorce, consider the following questions:
Given the abundance of smartphone apps on the market today, it was only a matter of time before someone created some helpful apps for divorced parents. The following apps might help you co-parent with your former spouse after your divorce:
Regardless of a parent's legal custodial status, each parent has the right to have access to all educational records of their children pursuant to G.L. ch. 208, § 31 and G.L. ch. 71, § 34H unless the school or district has been given documentation that:
Parental alienation is a serious problem. In a troubling case out of Michigan, three young children between the ages of 9 and 14, were each sent to juvenile detention after failing to speak to or have lunch with their father. The judge in the contentious case, Lisa Gorcyca, held all three in contempt of court for violating her direct order that they spend time with their dad.
If a "typical" child custody case can be consider an emotional and expensive roller coaster, then a "relocation" child custody case can be like a Giga Coaster in terms of emotional turmoil, time commitment, attorney's fees, costs, and Guardian ad Litem fees. Child custody relocation cases usually occur in one of three circumstances following an initial separation or divorce: (1) the custodial parent decides to get remarried to a new spouse who lives in another city, state, or even country; (2) the custodial parent decides he/she wants to move in order to be closer to his/her family members; or (3) the custodial parent or his/her new spouse desires to move to pursue a better/unique employment or educational opportunity which cannot be pursued in the hometown of the child.
There is a growing trend in some states to move towards shared parenting. Legislators in nearly 20 states are currently either considering or will consider proposals to mandate equal parenting plans during a divorce. Advocates say that for too long, men have been at a distinct disadvantage when it comes time to divide up parenting responsibilities in a divorce. The new measures are aimed at leveling the playing field by making shared parenting arrangements the default, but could these proposed new child custody laws lead to financial problems?
With divorce seemingly always on the rise and the number of unwed couples having children, the number of contested child custody cases is definitely growing. And with that, there has also been a rise in concerns over parental alienation issues.
New research has explored the impact of various custody arrangements and the data highlights the value of joint custody, both for parents and especially for children. This year, three separate and independent groups revealed the results of decades of research and found that shared parenting is better for children in nearly every case. Despite this overwhelming evidence, the numbers show that in almost 80 percent of divorce cases, one parent (often the mother) is awarded sole custody.
Massachusetts has adopted the 'best interests of the child" standard when called upon to determine with which of the parents the children or any of them shall remain or may award their custody to some third person if it seems expedient or for the benefit of the children.
On occasion, disputes occur between divorcing parents concerning the care and custody of their children. When they do, the court may appoint an attorney to serve as a Guardian ad Litem (GAL). Unlike an attorney who advocates a client's position, the GAL is required to investigate the issues identified by the court, determine what is in the best interest of the child, and make recommendations based on facts gathered during the investigation.