Massachusetts residents may be interested to learn that a hearing is scheduled for May 18 in an international abduction case that has taken more than 10 years to come to trial. According to the prosecution in this case, the mother took her 8-year-old daughter to Costa Rica illegally and lived there with her second husband. She returned to New Hampshire after the child turned 18. She and her second husband are now facing charges of witness tampering and custodial interference.
Two studies indicate that Facebook and social media may be causing relationship problems and breakups. A survey of 2,000 married people in the United Kingdom found that one in seven respondents had thought about divorcing their spouse as a result of social media activity, which includes sites like Twitter, Skype and SnapChat in addition to Facebook. About 25 percent of those who took the survey said they had at least one argument a week about social media, and 17 percent said it the cause of a daily argument.
Massachusetts residents might be interested in a new study that indicates children of divorced couples suffer less stress when they spend time living with both parents. The research appears in the April 27 edition of the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
Perhaps one of the most stressful aspects of divorce or separation is the arriving at an agreement about the support and custody of the estranged couple's children. This stress can be enhanced when one or more of the children begin to view one of the parents as the wrongdoer. Massachusetts social workers have observed and studies have supported two different types of parental alienation. The first is when the child's negative views of one parent are supported and encouraged by the other parent. The second is when the child begins to alienate from a parent without being provoked to demonstrate such behavior.
Massachusetts residents may be interested to learn that "Gossip Girl" actress Kelly Rutherford has asked a federal court to grant the U.S. government custody of her two young children in a last-minute bid to keep them from returning to France to live with their father. The children, ages 5 and 7, are currently visiting her in New York.
The first part of this two-part post explored the arguments that advocates are making in support of reforming child custody laws in Massachusetts. In a quick recap, the proposed legislation would add a few amendments. The primary change would force the courts to make joint custody the first choice, excluding cases involving an unfit parent.
In 2010, U.S Census data estimated that approximately 80 percent of the custodial parents across the country were women. Advocates for child custody reform, like the Boston-based National Parents Organization, often cite statistics such as this in support of new legislation.
Many Massachusetts residents are Facebook users and are aware of the types of information that can be found on such a site. For divorce lawyers, some of this material can be important when dealing with contested issues such as spousal or child support. If an individual claims that he or she is unemployed, it could be damaging if the other spouse's attorney found a picture of that individual buying a large car or a new house.
Child custody agreements in Massachusetts are increasingly changing to account for new technology and methods of communication between parents and children. Technologically based communication, otherwise known as virtual visitation, is considered to be an enhancement to regular physical visitation that allows parents and children greater access to one another outside of regular court-ordered visitation. This form of visitation is frequently encouraged to foster stronger emotional bonds and permit children and parents to stay in more regular contact.
A Massachusetts parent who has been a victim of abuse at the hands of the child's other parent may be fearful of having to interact with that individual during future visitation dates. The potential for continued abuse is also an important concern to courts that are determining visitation schedules in child custody cases. Supervised visitation may be ordered if there are risks for a child or the custodial parent during these times. This is a program devised to ensure the safety of a child as time is spent with a parent.