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How do courts determine if relocation of a child to another state during a divorce is acceptable?

In situations where a custodial parent wishes to relocate with a child, the court will determine whether child custody relocation is in the best interests of the child. While a parent is free to relocate out of state themselves without the child or with the permission of the other parent to take the child, the state of Massachusetts requires a judge ruling regarding relocation contested by a parent. Depending on the current custody agreement, the judge has two different processes for determining if relocation is in the child’s best interest. For joint or shared custody the judge will take into account the following: Whether or not the quality of the child’s life will be improved and if the child will endure similar benefits as the parent from the move. Adverse effects of altering visitation schedule and the extent to which the child’s relationship to the non-moving parent will be compromised. How the child’s emotional, physical, or developmental needs will be impacted by moving or not moving. If there is a way to create a new visitation order to allow the non-relocating parent to maintain a close and enduring bond with the child. In the event a parent with primary custody is requesting relocation, the judge will apply what is known as the “real advantage” standard as the child’s well-being is more closely intertwined with the parent’s welfare in these situations. In this case, the judge will examine evidence of economic benefits, availability of extended family, and the desire to relocate

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The holidays can lead to co-parenting challenges

When families are divided by separation or divorce, parents often struggle over the care and custody of their children. Many custody issues will be worked out during the divorce or child custody proceedings, but reaching an agreement does not always mean that the terms will remain acceptable over time. The holidays often bring out or heighten existing disputes over custody, and can lead Massachusetts parents to struggle and fight over custody rights as they pertain to holiday celebrations. There are a number of ways to handle the holidays when multiple families are involved. In the most cooperative of cases, families are able to celebrate at least part of the holiday together, in much the same way that holidays were handled while the family was intact. This can even include the participation of both extended families. This type of arrangement, however, is rare. More often, the holidays will be divided between parties, with children shuttled back and forth between multiple households. This can be a stressful time for children, and can alter the way that they feel about the holiday season. Parents should try to work together to determine a holiday schedule that puts the needs of the child or children at the forefront. Unfortunately, in many cases existing tensions and old resentments between parents prevent this type of collaborative approach. In such circumstances, it may be advisable to approach a family court to have the holiday schedule determined or augmented. Courts in Massachusetts and elsewhere are willing to consider custody

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Technology can lead to challenges to fathers’ rights

With the advent of ever more sophisticated forms of technology, keeping in touch has never been easier. Whether you use email, text messaging, online scheduling or social media, staying in touch takes far different forms today than in years past. For Massachusetts couples who divorce or separate, issues of child custody can be made much smoother by choosing a remote form of communication, especially when parents cannot get along in person. However, when one parent chooses to use technology as a weapon, it can cause significant problems for the relationship between the child and the other parent. Many who support fathers’ rights see potential problems with relying on technology to have access to one’s child. A recent study looked into the ways that divorced couples use technology in regard to child custody issues. Researchers discovered that when former spouses maintained a positive relationship, technology was used to facilitate custody exchanges, keep both parents in the loop regarding the child’s activities, and make sure that both parents stayed on the same page in regard to the kids’ schedules. However, when parents did not enjoy an amicable relationship, technology was often used by one parent to limit the other’s access to the child. By simply avoiding answering text messages and email, some parents seek to limit the amount of time that the other parent has with the child. In some cases, parents admitted to pretending that they never received email. This type of behavior not only brings further tension between the parents,

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Shared custody concern: No one-size-fits-all solution

When Massachusetts parents file for divorce, the primary issue on the table becomes child custody. Those who practice family law assert that child custody cases are among the most highly contentious and contested form of law. Even among couples who have little interest in arguing over issues such as the division of marital property, when it comes to issues surrounding their children, the gloves come off. Some opt for some form of shared custody in an attempt to gain equal parenting time with their children. However, the concept of shared or equal custody is not universally accepted among those who practice or are involved in family law. When it comes to the debate about whether such a practice should be statutorily mandated, many in the profession object. One point of view asserts that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all divorce, not should child custody issues be handled in a standardized manner. Each family is unique, and the skills and abilities that each parent brings to the table are also disparate. In the majority of scenarios, it would be far better for the child or children involved to remain in the primary care of the parent best suited to provide for their needs, both financially and emotionally. In addition, in cases in which there are questions of substance abuse, instability or physical or psychological abuse, shared or equal custody just doesn’t make sense. While most states have not embraced the concept of mandatory joint or shared custody, there is

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