Unfortunately, the emotionally charged circumstances of divorce and custody cases can create very difficult conditions for the parties and their children. On occasion, one or both parties will engage in disparaging behavior - calling the other party names in public and to third parties, making insulting comments on social media, and spreading disinformation within the community about the case and the other party.
When parents of minor children separate, and have to establish appropriate parenting plans and make joint legal custodial decisions that are in their children's best interests, it is helpful to engage the services of mental health professionals, who can serve as parenting coaches. Parenting coaches can be engaged prior to, during, or after separation and divorce. Clients who have engaged parenting coaches often have a much easier time navigating through difficult child-related issues that come up in the context of separation and divorce.
Custody, visitation and removal cases are often decided based on the investigation and/or evaluation of a court-appointed Guardian ad Litem ("GAL"). GAL Consultants can help clients navigate the process.
In a recent custody case we litigated in the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court, a case in which the parties' minor child is a smart, articulate, athletic and very talented 11-year-old boy, an excellent resource published by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts ("AFCC") called "Planning for Shared Parenting: A guide for Parents Living Apart" became a vital guide for the parties in formulating an effective parenting plan that both parties agreed is in their pre-teen's best interests. Formulating pre-teen parenting plans can be quite challenging. This particular AFCC guide articulates a number of important issues that the parties to a custody case should consider. Probate and Family Court judges often refer to the resource, so it is also something that should be considered in anticipating a possible judgment after a full-blown trial. This advance knowledge certainly helps settle cases, and in turn, reduces the overall cost of litigation.