Child Custody Representation From Attorneys Who Care

The Law Office of Merril S. Chin, LLC, represents mothers and fathers in a wide range of child custody-related cases. We represent parents who are getting a divorce, parents who wish to modify an existing child custody arrangement, and parents with other child-custody related needs.

Questions? Talk to one of our attorneys. Simply complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation at our office in Peabody, Massachusetts.

How Is Child Custody Decided?

Child custody is often the most important and most sensitive issue for divorcing families with minor children. Custodial plans — or parenting plans — are often the most complicated and most litigated areas in family law. Why? Because the Court decides custody disputes based on the best interests of the child, rather than on the interests of either parent.

Factors considered when deciding a child's best interests include:

  • The age of the child
  • The child's wishes (once he or she is older)
  • The quality and the quantity of time spent with the child
  • Parents' locations and parents' relocation plans
  • Which parent has served as the child's primary caregiver
  • The location of the child's school
  • The parents' schedules

The Role Of The Guardian Ad Litem

Some cases in which the parents cannot agree where the children should live and/or what the parenting plan will be require a Guardian Ad Litem.

A Guardian Ad Litem is either an attorney or a mental health professional who acts as a neutral investigator and/or evaluator. They will interview the children and speak to the parents and anyone who has information about the parents or the children, such as relatives, friends, neighbors, school personnel and medical providers. The Guardian Ad Litem's role is to present an objective recommendation to the Court concerning the relevant custodial issues, such as:

  • Where the children should live
  • How much time they should spend with the other parent
  • Whether there is a need for supervision

Sometimes the Guardian Ad Litem doesn't make a recommendation that is in line with your position. We have decades of experience handling these types of cases and taking them to trial when necessary. We advocate aggressively, but always realistically and compassionately, for our clients, and we have been extremely successful in achieving our male and female clients' custody goals.

Modifying Child Custody

Sometimes an initial custody arrangement needs to be changed. Possibly the child/children are not being well cared for by the current custodial parent or sometimes, as a child gets older, he or she may need to spend more time with the noncustodial parent. While children certainly have voices in the custodial arrangements as they grow older, they do not make their own decisions until they reach the age of 18. We have the resources and experience you need to effectively handle such situations.

Relocating With A Child: What Does The Law Say?

Sometimes one parent wishes to move outside of Massachusetts and take the child/children with them. This is referred to as removal or relocation.

While the parent is certainly permitted to go where he or she desires, the law is clear that they cannot take the child or children with them unless the Court or the other parent gives permission. This is despite the custodial designations and applies to children born of a marriage or outside of a marriage (paternity).

Since moving a child away from one parent will certainly impact that child's relationship with the non-moving parent, such cases are often the most difficult of all family law issues. If the parties do not agree that one parent should be permitted to move out of state with the child/children, the Court will apply the appropriate legal standard, which depends upon the custodial situation, to decide whether or not removal should be granted.

The lawyers at The Law Office of Merril S. Chin, LLC, have negotiated and litigated many removal cases. As these cases are very fact-driven, a consultation is required to evaluate the specifics of your case and the likelihood of success.

Contact Us

Our office is located conveniently off of Route 1 and highways 95, 128, 62 and 114. We accept all major credit cards and offer flexible appointments. Please call us at 978-767-4701 or 866-483-6848.