Left a domestic abusive relationship w/ my daughter almost a year ago, now almost 3 years old. My ex had a lawyer in mediation, I did not. During recent investigation it came to light that my ex & his attorney basically threatened me to try & force me into a temp joint agreement which I have been fighting for almost a year. I have a PO against my ex which he recently violated. There is alot more to this story, but the basic question is, the report came back & said that "unless PO is vacated, mother have sole legal & physical until child enters kindergarten, then physical can be revised." What exactly does that mean? I have sole physical & legal until kindergarten & only then, if PO is vacated could physical be revised? How much does a MA judge weigh his decision on this type of report
Family Law Attorney
"Can be revised" simply means that the issue of custody can be addressed again if and when the PO is lifted. Issues regarding children can always be re-visited by a complaint for modification that alleges a material change in circumstances. But just because he can re-visit the issue does not mean custody will get changed to his liking. It will depend on the facts and circumstances unique to your case that will exist at the time.
How judges view reports by DCF or a GAL or Family Service investigation can vary, but on the whole, they very much take them into account, especially where issues of safety are involved.
To questioners from West Virginia & New York: Although I am licensed to practice in your state, I practice on a day-to-day basis in Massachusetts. I answer questions in your state in areas of the law in which I practice, and in which I feel comfortable trying to offer you assistance based on my knowledge of specific statutes in your state and/or general principles applicable in all states. It is always best, however, to work with attorneys and court personnel in your own area to deal with specific problems and factual situations.
Family Law Attorney
I have to agree with the previous attorney with his interpretation of what the report was recommending. I did note that you went to Court and tried to represent yourself in all this. Although you seemed to do well presently, I would recommend that you hire an attorney to help you navigate safely through your next court proceedings. Many of the local County Bar have programs specifically tailored for people with lower incomes where you might have to pay some money, but it would be a very small amount in comparison to what you might have to pay otherwise. You can also hire an attorney for probate for limited representation where the attorney only goes to court when you need him to do so. The attorney can also help you prepare many of the documents you need to submit. A Forum like this is a very good place to gain insight into your legal problems, but it is not meant to be a substitute for consulting an attorney. To put it all in perspective, how important is keeping your daughter in your custody and safe to you? Take the time to call around for an attorney you can afford and to whom you will explain all the details of the case. Good Luck and God Bless
Attorney Lawrence J. Pilon, Jr.
273 State Street
Springfield, MA 01103
The answer to this question is for informational purposes only and is expressly not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a lawyer-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this without seeking advice from professional advisers.