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Robert J McCarthy

Robert McCarthy’s Legal Guides

61 total


  • Ten Tips For Parents Meeting With A Court Investigator.

    Massachusetts law requires a judge to appoint a court investigator in most care & protection/termination of parental rights cases. The law reads in part: Upon issuance of a precept the court shall appoint a person to to investigate conditions affecting a child to make a report. G.L. c.119, s.2.

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  • Quick Summary of the Path to Terminate Parental Rights in Massachusetts

    The path to terminate parental rights in the court's of Massachusetts is firmly established. A decision to terminate parental rights involves a two-step analysis by a judge after hearing and reading all evidence presented in a case. First, in order to terminate parental rights a...

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  • Challenging findings on appeal in Massachusetts

    How findings of fact are determined The petitioner, usually the Department of Children and Families in Massachusetts, in a termination of parental rights or care and protection case must prove at tri

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  • When does the law authorize state intervention in a family in Massachusetts

    So long as a family cannot or does not provide the necessary amount of care and protection for its children, the Department of Children and Families (Massachusetts) is obligated to intervene and protect the right of children to sound health and normal physical and mental devel...

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  • Appealing a denial of a motion to recuse

    In reviewing a judge's denial of a recusal motion, the standard of review on appeal is whether there was an abuse of discretion. Demoulas v. Demoulas Super Markets, Inc., 428 Mass. 543, 546 (1998). The matter of recusal is generally left to the discretion of the trial judge...

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  • What is an abuse of discretion motion? For that matter what is a motion?

    What is a motion? A motion is simply a request, usually in writing, asking a judge to do something. In Department of Children and Family (DCF) cases a parent or child may request, for example, that a

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  • Removal of children from parents by the state

    Removal of children. Not easy on anyone. One of the first great difficulties a parent and child may face in a care and protection case is the emergency removal of a child. As can be imagined this sep

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  • Standard of Proof in a Care & Protection case

    In Massachusetts the petitioner in a care and protection case, usually the Department of Children and Families, is required to prove at trial by clear and convincing evidence that a parent is currently unfit. Adoption of Katharine, 42 Mass. App. Ct. 25, 27 (1997). While the ultim...

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  • Five factors Massachusetts courts may consider when determining parental fitness

    1. A parents character, temperament, conduct, and capacity to provide for a child's particular needs, affections, and age. Adoption of Mary, 414 Mass. 705, 711 (1993). 2. Evidence of alcohol or drug abuse is relevant to a parent's willingness, competence, and availability to pro...

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  • Five considerations in determining parental unfitness in Massachusetts

    1. A parents ability to manage financial affairs is an appropriate consideration in the determination of unfitness. Petitions of the Department of Social Services to Dispense with Consent to Adoption, 399 Mass. 279, 289 (1987) 2. It is in the best interest of a child to have a pa...

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