Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law

December 2015 Archives

Will child custody reform benefit children of divorced parents?

Child custody law reform is currently being considered by more than 20 states, including Massachusetts. Noncustodial parents may be happy to learn that the proposed reform will bring about more parenting time. The National Parents Organization (NPO) says reform will make equal parenting the norm rather than the exception. Child custody rulings that are affected by abuse or drug dependency will naturally still occur when it is necessary to protect a child.

Family law: Same-sex mother denies former partner parental rights

Same-sex couples nationwide, including in Massachusetts, might have noticed that some legal aspects of family law need more attention in order to bring consistency. In an ongoing case about the parental rights of each partner of a former same-sex couple in another state, the justice commented that lawmakers were in uncharted waters when it comes to same-sex family law. Each case involving same-sex parents and children born from sperm donations or surrogacy present unique challenges, and litigation results sometimes seem to reflect the personal opinions of the presiding judges.

Prenups can bring more equality for same-sex spouses in divorce

Although the U.S. Supreme Court opened marriage to same-sex couples in June this year, those couples are still at a significant disadvantage if they want to get divorced. While Massachusetts has recognized same-sex marriages for years, couples who moved out of state may have experienced discrimination. Marriage equality means that the same laws govern same-sex spouses as heterosexual couples. Assets and debts owned by a spouse before the marriage will remain his or her property, and assets and debts accumulated after the date of the marriage must be divided equitably.

Conflict resolution may avoid parental alienation after divorce

More and more parents across the country, including in Massachusetts, are committed to protecting their children from nastiness during a divorce. Many divorcing couples recognize the fact that emotional scarring in high conflict divorces can affect the remainder of their children's lives, and these parents choose to utilize available methods of conflict resolution. The egos of the conflicting spouses can cause self-righteousness and defensiveness and may lead one parent to make allegations against the other; all of this can lead to parental alienation, and sadly, those who suffer most are usually the children.

How you ask for divorce may pave the way for divorce mediation

In many Massachusetts marriages, there come a time when one of the spouses realize that it would be best for all parties concerned to end the marriage. However, this is probably one of the most difficult conversations to have. Whichever approach is chosen, it may be best to do this in a manner that will not give rise to conflict. Some suggest that telling a spouse about your decision must pave the way for divorce mediation during which contentious issues might be resolved in an amicable manner.

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