Parenting Time and Child Visitation
In Massachusetts, when one parent is granted sole physical custody of the child(ren) the other parent (the noncustodial parent) may be granted visitation, also known as parenting time, which is the specific time allotted for the noncustodial parent to spend with the child(ren). The Court recognizes the importance of promoting relationships between a child or children and both parents when one parent is granted sole physical custody of the child(ren) and the Court will determine a schedule of parenting time for the noncustodial parent consistent with the child(ren)’s best interests.
Typical parenting time includes alternating weekends, and weekday dinner visits/overnights, depending on distances of residences and schools. Frequent telephone and email communications between children and parents are also common. Vacation time and holiday celebration is also defined by sharing or alternating the time each parent spends with a child on those dates.
The parties may submit a Parenting Plan to the Court and the Court must consider the plan submitted by the parties, but at all times the Court will look at what is in the best interest of the child(ren) and determine whether all or part of the plan is implemented or whether to reject the plan and create their own plan. In general, the court will usually allow some type of parenting time with the child(ren) except in cases where the safety of the child is in question.
When a case involves domestic violence, child abuse, or neglect, the court is likely to appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) who will conduct an investigation by interviewing individuals involved in the case such as the parents, siblings, teachers, doctors, friends of the family, therapists, or whomever they deem necessary for the investigation. The GAL will write a report and may make recommendations which will assist the Court in deciding what if any parenting time will be granted to the noncustodial parent. The Court may impose restrictions that provide for the safety of the child(ren) on the parenting time of the noncustodial parent. These restrictions might include supervised exchanges or supervised parenting time by a third party or visitation center. A GAL may also be appointed in contested custody cases.
Modifying Parenting Schedule – Massachusetts Visitation Lawyers
Occasionally parents have a change of schedule or other issue that requires changes to be made to an existing parenting time schedule. When the other parent is unwilling or unable to modify the existing parenting time schedule a dispute may arise. If the parties are unable to resolve this dispute outside of Court the parent can file for modification of parenting time by filing a Motion with the Court (if the case has not gone to judgment) or by filing a Complaint for Modification with the Court (if the case has gone to judgment). In order to obtain a modification the plaintiff must show that a material change in circumstances has occurred since the last order or judgment and that the modification would be in the child’s best interest. It is important that you contact a Massachusetts modification attorney to assist you in seeking a modification on parenting time.
Child Visitation Lawyers – Understanding Your Child’s Needs
Visitation, also called parenting time, can be a difficult to arrange if the parents are not on good terms with each other. We have worked with many parents in contentious visitation and child custody cases. We understand that it can be difficult for a new mother to part with her child so the noncustodial parent can visit with his/her child. Conversely, we have helped many noncustodial parents obtain parenting time with their child(ren) even in circumstances when the custodial parent is not cooperative.
We are experienced Salem visitation lawyers who recognize the sensitive and delicate nature of establishing a proper parenting schedule when the parents do not get along. We know that you have needs and requirements, and we will always take the time to consult you and your thoughts about visitation whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent. We know that your children are extremely important to you. If both parents are devoted to seeing and rearing their children equally, it is vital to come up with a visitation agreement that allows for that type of arrangement. We will work with you to create a visitation agreement that is specific to your needs and those of your children.
Violating the Child Custody or Child Visitation Agreement
Parents often worry about the possibility of the other parent violating the custody/visitation agreement. If this occurs, we can help you take the appropriate action to make sure that you and your children are treated fairly and in a manner that meets their best interest.
Sometimes a visitation schedule will require modification as the years go by. A small child does not have the same needs as a teenager, and the visitation schedule can be changed to reflect that. There are many factors that could play into changing these agreements, and we have the experience and legal knowledge to help you through modifying your visitation agreement.
Do you have questions about your visitation agreement in Massachusetts? Are you going through a divorce and want to know what to expect? Do not hesitate to contact us with questions. We have the experience and legal knowledge you need to get the results you desire.