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Child custody agreements help prevent future disputes

Imagine going through a divorce, which wasn't highly controversial or emotional, working out a custody agreement for your child and moving on with your life. Your son spends some time with his father, who moved across the country, during the summer and a few other times during the year. Everything seems to be going well until you receive a phone call one day when your child is visiting their other parent.

Your ex-spouse tells you that they are not returning their child to you, and they are going to seek custody. How could this happen? If Massachusetts parents don't establish a legal child custody agreement, a parent could potentially seek custody over their child from another parent. This was the example used in a recent story in the Huffington Post, based on an actual event.

In the case, the man used the six weeks his son stayed with him one summer to his advantage. At that point the court in his state believed that the child had spent significant time with his father and after the custody case proceeded the court ruled that giving custody of the child back to the woman would be significantly disruptive to the child.

This shows the importance of having enforceable child custody agreements no matter how trusting a person might be of their ex-spouse. The woman incurred thousands of dollars in legal and travel fees as a result of not having an enforceable agreement. An experienced family law attorney can help a family work out a fair custody agreement during a divorce.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Two Big Child Custody Mistakes To Avoid," Bob Jeffries, Dec. 26, 2012

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