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Preparing for Child Custody Hearings in Westborough
Ensuring Clients Are Prepared for Custody Hearings in Worcester County
Preparing for child custody hearings often involves navigating both the complex laws governing these disputes and the emotional implications that come with domestic litigation, especially when it directly involves your time and relationship with your child.
Fortunately, having an experienced family law attorney’s assistance can help ease the stress commonly associated with child custody litigation. Whether you need a lawyer to review a newly proposed custody plan or to defend your current parental rights before a family judge, you should contact the legal team at O’Connor Family Law. With over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, our dedicated attorneys can offer the guidance and support you need during these difficult and stressful proceedings.
Request your initial consultation by filling out our online form or dialing (774) 315-4220.
To reduce the need for judicial intervention in family matters, prior to a hearing for temporary orders, the court will often require both parties and their attorneys to sit down and discuss settling the matter. Sometimes this is done with the help of a family court probation office (which is very different than the probation thought about within a criminal matter). If, after attempting to negotiate, you and the other parent cannot agree on all the contested issues, your attorney will have the opportunity to argue your side to the Judge. The Judge would then decide those matters and mail out an order after the hearing concludes.
Working with an experienced family attorney is essential when preparing for child custody hearings. If there is not a complete agreement, the judge ultimately makes the custody decisions – not the parents. Even if you cannot afford to have an attorney go with you on the day of your hearing, you could sit down with an attorney to educate yourself on what the important points to get across to the Judge would be so you can argue appropriately on your own. One of our extraordinary attorneys can help you prepare proposals and gather the admissible evidence necessary to support your asserted position during your custodial hearings.
"O'Connor Family Law and specifically Lydia Field were amazing throughout my entire divorce process. Lydia was so knowledgeable, responsive, and helpful as we worked through the mountains of paperwork."- Sarah M.
"I am so happy with the services Attorney Khan provided, she came in at the last minute after a previous attorney did not fulfil his duties and she found errors he had made, worked all weekend on a rush to finalize my divorce."- Courtney O.
"LaKeshia Parker Smalls and her team were so wonderful throughout my divorce process. I spoke with a few other lawyers before hiring her who made me feel like a burden with all the questions I needed answers to."- Jessica C.
"Sasha Khan worked with me for 10 months on a child custody modification. She had a difficult case with the opposing party, but was very professional and driven to defend me and give advice through a very difficult time in my life."- Shannon W.
Local family judges must address both physical and legal custodial rights during initial child custody hearings. Therefore, co-parents must consider both the child’s living arrangements, needs, and safety as well as both parents’ decision-making rights when preparing custody proposals with legal counsel.
These proposals may include:
- sharing legal and physical custody equally.
- creating a residential custody plan according to the children’s school schedules.
- giving one parent authority over certain decisions.
Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 208, §31 advises courts to presume fit parents have equal residential and decision-making rights when reviewing custody proposals for fairness. However, the law clearly states that courts should primarily decide custodial matters based on the children’s happiness and wellbeing.
Whether co-parents are submitting joint proposals or individual parents are working on custody proposals separately with counsel, they must consider the following best interest factors when drafting a parenting plan:
- Both parents’ willingness to care for their children (i.e. their fitness as parents).
- The child’s wishes (if they are 13 years or older).
- Either parent’s ability to cooperate in child-rearing matters.
- The stability of either parent’s home.
- Any history of domestic abuse, child neglect, or illegal drug use.
- The previous relationships and interactions between the children, parents, and siblings.
- The child’s educational, social, and medical needs.
- Both parents’ work schedules and their proximity to one another.
If parents cannot agree on a joint custody proposal, a local attorney can prepare an argument that demonstrates why a certain plan best serves the children’s wellbeing.
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