Child Custody

Skilled Child Custody Lawyers in Northampton, MA

Making decisions about your children’s future is difficult enough when both parents mutually agree about the best course of action. Parenting is complex and difficult. When parents are divorcing, decisions about where a child will live and discussions about how to pay for basic expenses like medical care, schooling, clothing, and food can become much more difficult. If parents find themselves in situations where they cannot speak to their spouse in an amicable manner, making these basic financial decisions can not only be difficult, it can be near impossible.

Finding an experienced child support lawyer and child custody lawyer in the city of Northampton, MA is an important first step in making sure that your child’s best interests are kept in mind during this difficult time. A child custody attorney can help you negotiate how the custody of your child will be divided between each parent. If one parent will retain full custody, a lawyer can help you draft a reasonable visitation schedule that meets the parties’ interests in parenting their children, while also ensuring that the children’s’ emotional and physical well-being is preserved. Finally, a child support lawyer can help you negotiate child support payments and determine how much should be paid to one parent. Dinsmore Stark, Attorneys at Law have years of experience and offer aggressive yet compassionate counsel.  Attorney Bernadette Stark is a zealous advocate for her clients, and has successfully worked with both opposing attorneys and the courts, on behalf of her clients, to ensure that they have the best representation in resolving these difficult issues.

Factors Affecting Child Custody and Child Support in Massachusetts

A variety of factors are taken into account during a child custody and child support case in Massachusetts. A judge will review all child custody decisions made by you and your former spouse, so it is important to make sure that the agreement you draft is legal under Massachusetts law. Before a court hearing can proceed, both parents will be required to attend a mandatory parent education program. In some cases, it is possible to submit a motion to waive attendance of this program.

There are two types of child custody in Massachusetts: legal custody and physical custody. A parent with legal custody can make all major decisions affecting his or her child’s life. For instance, the parent can determine where the child will attend school and what religious practices the child will observe. Physical custody refers to where a child physically resides. A parent with physical custody oversees a child’s day to day life.  There is a legal “presumption” in Massachusetts for married parents to have joint legal custody, unless it is inappropriate in a particular case.  Parents who are undergoing a divorce will have to make decisions about legal and physical custody. If the parents live apart, one parent may have sole physical custody, while both parents may share legal custody. In cases where one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent is usually legally entitled to visitation rights. It is important to work with a child custody attorney to make these decisions and handle the negotiations. A lawyer can help you reach your goals in crafting a parenting schedule that works for you and your children. If parents cannot reach a mutual child custody agreement, a judge may make these decisions for them.   Attorney Stark has years of experience in appearing in the Hampshire, Hampden and Franklin County Probate and Family Law Courts and can counsel you on the best way to proceed in your case.

After child custody is determined, parents will want to determine whether child support is appropriate. The courts review many factors before determining a child support award. They take into account both parents’ gross income, health insurance and child care costs, the amount of time the child spends with each parent, and the child’s expenses.

Dinsmore Stark: Compassionate Counsel 

While one is not legally required to hire a child support attorney in Massachusetts, it is often a wise course of action. A child support attorney can help you and your former spouse negotiate child support payments and determine a child custody agreement that is in the best interests of your child or children.  Dinsmore Stark, Attorneys at Law will serve as your advocate in court and explain the legal advantages and disadvantages of every decision you and your former spouse make on behalf of your children. Contact Dinsmore Stark, Attorneys at Law today for an initial consultation to protect your family’s future.

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Our Team

Raymond Dinsmore

Attorneys At Law

Raymond Dinsmore is partner in the law firm of Dinsmore Stark, Attorneys At Law. Mr. Dinsmore specializes is plaintiff’s employment law and plaintiff’s personal injury. He also serves as a Special Prosecutor to Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office in the field of lead paint law enforcement.

Bernadette Stark

Attorneys At Law

Bernadette Stark is a founding partner of Dinsmore Stark, Attorneys At Law, practicing primarily in the area of Family Law. Attorney Stark received her B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and received her Juris Doctor degree from Cornell Law School in 2001.

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