Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law

Worcester MA Divorce Law Blog

Can breastfeeding affect child custody? The Nicole Curtis case

Whether a mother chooses to breast or bottle feed is a very personal decision. No one has the right to judge what she feels is best for herself and her baby. However, a recent child custody case has people in Massachusetts and elsewhere scratching their heads, as it appears a judge may have the right to determine if, when or for how long a mother can breastfeed her child.

Many women choose to breastfeed their children through infancy and into their toddler years. It is called baby-led weaning. This allows the child to decide when he or she is done and ready to move on to other foods full time. The host of HGTV's show Rehab Addict has chosen to practice baby-led weaning, but this choice is one that may soon be taken out of her hands.

Get help resolving your relocation-related custody dispute

Are you the primary custody holder of your children? Do you need to move, either out-of-state or several hours away from your current location in Massachusetts? Think you can just pick up and move without question? Think again. If your ex has any level of custody or visitation rights, your need or desire to relocate may cause a major custody dispute that you may have to go to court to resolve.

The need or desire to relocate happens. People get new jobs, they need family support, or they get remarried -- among other things -- any of which could require a move. When a relocation takes children away from one of their parents, questions are likely to be raised about whether the move truly serves the children's best interests.

Brendan Fraser's alimony struggle -- when enough is enough

Financially supporting one's former spouse is often expected by the breadwinner following a divorce in Massachusetts. But when is an alimony award just too much? This is something actor Brendan Fraser and others who pay spousal support are asking themselves.

Brendan Fraser has been in the movie business for quite some time. During his career, he married Afton Smith -- an actress -- and had three sons. Eventually the couple decided to end their marriage, and Ms. Smith was awarded alimony and child support to the tune of $900,000 annually.

Dean McDermott on the hook for not paying child support, again

Some people cannot catch a break, it seems. When it comes to family law matters, such as conflicts over child support, celebrities have it pretty bad because their personal business is often splashed all over the news. Whether Massachusetts residents like such stories or not, there is something that can be learned from them.

Actor Dean McDermott's ex-wife is claiming that he has once again stopped paying child support for their son. This claim was recently published in various publications that are distributed nationwide. According to the report, there is a support order in place, but for reasons unknown, the actor simply stopped meeting his obligation.

What does DNA have to do with same-sex divorce?

Genes -- ever think about the role they play in one's life? Do they do more than determine what a person looks like? According to a recent study, one's DNA actually does matter when it comes to making important life decisions. The example in the study has to do with divorce. So, what exactly does DNA have to do with same\-sex divorce, and divorce in general, in Massachusetts and elsewhere?

Most people believe that environment is the biggest contributing factor to one getting divorced later in life. When children grow up with divorced parents, that is what they see, that is what they know. While there certainly is some evidence that points to this being true, it is not the full story.

Divorce mediation or litigation?

When going through the dissolution of marriage process, there is likely to be some conflict. It is normal. Many times, any issues can be resolved in divorce mediation. However, there are those in Massachusetts who find that litigation turns out to be necessary.

Divorce mediation is a great way to get through the dissolution process. It is generally less expensive and takes less time. It does require couples to be open and honest in their communication. It also requires each spouse to give a little when needed in order to reach a settlement agreement that each feels is fair and balanced.

A problem with joint child custody

There is a lot of research out there that shows why shared parenting is good for children. There is a lot to be said for that theory. However, there is a problem with joint child custody that may make it not worth it for some Massachusetts parents.

When parents enter a joint custody arrangement, both are given some level of legal and physical custody of their children. This means that they both get to spend time with their children, and they both get to make important life decisions for their children. It is the legal custody side of things where the problem lies. Not all parents can agree on everything.

New child support guidelines now in effect

Laws, they are always changing. As of September 15, the state of Massachusetts has new child support guidelines in effect. Several changes have been made with the hopes of making things simpler on parents.

Some of the biggest changes have to do with child support calculation. The amount of time children have with each parent has been used to determine how much child support was to be paid. This is not necessarily the case now.

Divorce mediation when dealing with a high-conflict personality

Getting a divorce can be rough in more ways than one. When dealing with a spouse who has a high-conflict personality, one may think that litigation is the only way in which a final agreement will be reached. However, those in Massachusetts in such situations may still be able to use divorce mediation in order to complete the process.

Divorce will either bring out the good in each spouse or it will bring out the bad. If dealing with a spouse with a high-conflict personality, one is likely to see a lot more bad than good. This certainly does not make this already difficult thing any easier to get through so that each party can just move forward.

Shared child custody, should it be the new normal?

The custody issue is one that plagues many Massachusetts parents when they are going through the divorce process and even afterward. Simply put, child custody is a difficult thing to figure out, especially when it comes to creating terms that everyone is happy with for the long haul. According to a recent study, shared custody agreements -- if appropriate -- will best serve everyone involved. Should such agreements be the new normal?

A professor at Wake Forest University says yes, joint custody should be the new norm. It is believed to best serve children's emotional well-being. According to the National Parents Organization, children in shared custody situations perform better at school, are more optimistic about the future, have fewer teenage pregnancies and are less likely to engage in drug use compared to their counterparts who are in sole custody situations.

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