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Grandparents rights in Massachusetts

Many Massachusetts grandparents experience the heartache of estrangement from their beloved grandchildren after a particularly acrimonious divorce or break-up. This negatively impacts the children as well, as they are now denied the support and love of their extended family.

Some grandparents turn to the courts to establish custody or visitation with their grandchildren. Our seasoned attorneys can provide the guidance and legal experience you need to remain a vital part of their lives.

Under the laws governing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, certain criteria must be met in order for grandparents to be granted custody and visitation rights. They include the following circumstances:

-- When the children's parents are separated or divorced

-- When parents have never married and paternity is established

-- If a parent is deceased

When making decisions regarding visitation and custody of minor children, the best interests of the children are always paramount to the court. Past instances of abuse or domestic violence or addiction to drugs and alcohol are all red flags indicating closer scrutiny should be given to the case. It is assumed that children fare better when reared by both of their parents, but the presence of risk factors can be a game-changer for the courts.

In "A Resource Guide for Massachusetts' GrandparentsRaising their Grandchildren," a collaborative effort by numerous agencies, some honest assessments should first be addressed:

-- Can I physically and emotionally assume this responsibility?

-- Will this arrangement be temporary or permanent?

-- What involvement, if any, will the parents have in their care?

-- Am I able to meet any special mental, physical or educational needs my grandchildren may have?

-- Can I turn to other family members for assistance if necessary?

-- What happens to them if I become incapacitated or die? Do I have a back-up plan in place?

-- Can I afford to support them financially on my salary/retirement pension?

-- What changes will the new custody arrangements bring to my grandchildren? Will they have to change schools and make new friends?

Our attorneys can help you address these complex issues so you can make the best decision for everyone.

Source: Johnson, Sclafani & Moriarty,, "Grandparents' Rights Attorney West Springfield" Aug. 28, 2014

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