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Can I bring her character fitness to family court?

Randolph, MA |

Regardless I am paying 300.00 dollars a week for daycare, paying $50.00 a week for baby sitter, my ex girlfriend took me to court for child support and custody. The judge award her an extra $100.00 a week for child support and gave her temporarily full legal custody of our daughter. She lies to court stating I am stacking her, I brain washed my four year old daughter, and the court officer threatened to terminate my rights and have me have supervised visits. The lady is a serial cheater, and would do anything for money. I have emails when she was cheated on her husband with an ex boyfriend, I have emails when she cheated on me with two different men, we have been separated for the last two years, she is on her fourth boyfriend since then. How to win at least share custody and cut $ expen

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Attorney answers 4


You need an attorney. Child support has nothing to do with the mother's lifestyle or whether she cheats on men, it is simply money determined by the state required to raise a child. If you want custody and a reduction in child support, you will need to file a complaint for modification, which will require either a showing of substantial change in circumstance, or a 3 year period since the last review of the situation. If you feel her ability to parent is in question, you may request that a GAL be assigned to the matter for investigation, but you will have to incur the costs, or at least split them with the mother.

A. Will Vella is an Massachusetts licensed attorney who focuses his practice on small business, family issues, and small personal matters . This response is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Additionally, this response does not create an attorney client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer in your state who practices in the appropriate area.

Todd Allen Davidson

Todd Allen Davidson


Who pays for the gal is usually based on the financial condition of the parties. It is not uncommon for one party to be required to pay the entire amount, for there to be 50/50 split, 70/30 split, etc... If you are both found to be unable to pay, then Massachusetts may pay for the gal. However, based on the amount of your child support obligation, it does not appear that you will qualify for assistance from the state. Now that you have the child support obligation, keep in mind that the court is always on the lookout for parents obligated to pay child support who intentionally become unemployed, underemployed, or who cut their hours in an attempt to reduce the amount of the support. When considering child support amounts, the judge will not just take a look at your past 2 months, but will take at your salary over a longer term (e.g. past 2 years).


I agree with Attorney Vella. You need to consult and/or retain an attorney for your next action in court. Cheating has nothing to do with child support and it is very important that you try your best to make sure that your child does not learn this information from you. It is also never a good idea to get on the bad side of a court officer as court personnel do communicate with each other. With that said, if your ex is introducing a new "boyfriend" each week to your child, that will show poor judgment. Attorney Vella is correct that the appointment of a guardian ad litem would be a person (usually psychologist or an attorney) that could conduct an investigation on the strengths and weaknesses of you and your ex as parents. If this gal report is in your favor and the gal concludes that your ex is "unfit," then that would be your best chance of gaining custody. As I am sure that your attorney would caution you, it is important that when you speak to a gal that you come across as the "concerned father" and not the "spiteful litigant." You should be prepared to speak about who has cared for the child, your strengths and weaknesses, and your ex's strengths and weaknesses. The gal will NOT care about the fact that you are paying child support and what amount you are paying. Lastly, if there is no settlement after the report is complete, the gal report and his or her recommendations are not conclusive. Instead, the gal report is just one document that the judge will consider in coming to his or her final decision.

The content of this answer should not be relied upon or used as a subsitute for consultation with professional advisors and it should be clearly understood that no attorney-client privilege has been created. A more complete answer and/or more accurate answer can only be provided in a more thorough examination of the facts in a consultation with my firm.


As you probably know Child support is based on a formula. You punch the numbers into the formula and you get an amount. There is not to much leeway in this formula. It is howevera guideline. Child support and custody issues are separate. One does not necessarily have to do with the other. The best interest of the child is the driving force in determining which parent has physical and or legal custody of the child. Physical custody is usually awarded to the parent who has been the primary care parent prior to the initiation of the litigation. Shared legal custody is usually put in place so that both parents can consult and give their input regarding the child's education, religious and medical concerns. In order for joint legal custody to be implemented both parents must be able to communicate with each other. If they are unable to do this then shared legal custody will not be granted.

Bottom line if you want to change the Courts current Judgment you must file a Modification Complaint. To do this you must show a substantial change in circumstance. Do yourself and your child a favor; hire an attorney.


Given how the "best interest of the child" is the hallmark principle of the Court, issues relating to her character may have some relevance in your case. Do you have pictures? Do you have documents and/or specific dates and incidents to present to the Court? Her cheating may not relate to her fitness as a mother, but if she is out galavanting around town when your child is supposed to be home sleeping...that is a different story!

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