The Law Office of Marcia Calcagni provides aggressive and professional representation on all family law cases in the Worcester MA area. We deal with the issues of Custody and Parenting Time, Child Support, Modifications (on child issues including support & parenting time), Removal Cases (where one parent seeks to relocate children from the Commonwealth to another state and/or country).
If either party has not complied with the terms of an Order issued by the Court, the other party may file what is known as a Complaint for Contempt. If the party who has not followed the court order is found in contempt by the court, the court may sanction the party, may award attorney fees to the other party, and in some cases, may even jail the party who has decided to ignore the orders of the court. The office handles both sides of contempt hearings, either filing of the contempt for a party or appearing in court to defend a party against a complaint for Contempt.
If a father is not named on a birth certificate, but he believes he is the father of a child, that person can file a Complaint for Paternity with the probate and family court to assert his rights. If mother acknowledges that he (the “Plaintiff” is the biological father the court will adjudicate (“declare”) him to be the father. If mother does not acknowledge that he is the father, the court will order that the “father” and the child have DNA tests to determine parentage. If the tests results indicate that the Plaintiff is the father of the child, the court will adjudicate (“declare”) him to be the father.
Once the determination is made of the identity of the biological father, father has the right to seek parenting time with the child. The court will also at the same time address the issue of child support and order a weekly amount to be paid by father based upon both parties gross income. The court, may in its discretion, order child support payments retroactive back to the date of the child’s birth.
If a father is named on a child’s birth certificate, that person is considered the legal parent of the child. Although being named on a birth certificate gives a father certain rights, sometimes court intervention is required to make sure father’s rights are protected. Often parents are no longer together and parenting time with a child can become an issue if the parents can no longer communicate.
ALL FATHERS HAVE RIGHTS under the law.
Always remember that the court will issues orders relative to a child based upon what the court believes to be in the best interest of the child.
The law office handles all forms of adoption, including spousal adoptions. In a spousal adoption, the spouse and the biological parent both adopt the child. This adoption by the biological parent is done in order to provide each parent with the same rights under the law without either party being able to claim they were the parent longer.
At adoption hearings, our judges are more than happy to pose for pictures with the newly formed happy family (and if the child is school age, it becomes a great excuse for a day away from school and usually the child’s favorite part).
Sometimes in life, things happen which require the appointment of a Guardian. A guardian is someone appointed to care for another when an individual cannot care for him or herself due to incompetence. A person may be declared incompetent for reasons such as age (eg, a child), physical disability or mental disability (such as mental illness, mental retardation, dementia, Alzheimers, etc.).
The two types of guardianship which are dealt with most often in the probate and family court are a guardianship for a minor child or a guardianship for a mentally impaired individual.
Guardianship of a child
When a parent or parents are not able to continue to care for a child for any reason, a Petition for Appointment of Guardian may be made to the court. If after hearing, the court determines that a guardianship is necessary to protect the child(ren), the court will appoint such a guardian. Although an appointment of guardian is made this does not mean that parents will not be able to visit with or have contact with their children. The court, in any guardianship appointment may allow visitation with the parents (usually supervised based on the circumstances).
The guardian stands in the place of the parent for as long as the guardianship continues. Whatever the reason that a child is appointed a guardian, the situation does not have to be permanent. In situations where a parent or parents are no longer able to care for their child(ren) due to substance abuse, the situation can turn around if the disability no longer exists (e.g., if the parent becomes “clean”). If the reason for the appointment no longer exists, a parent may petition the court to terminate the guardianship and restore custody to the biological parent.
Please remember that although an appointment of Permanent Guardian is made by the court, this does not mean that it is “permanent”. A permanent guardianship can and will be revoked by the court upon a showing by a parent that the disability no longer exists and the parent can prove to the court that they are fit to regain custody of their child(ren).
Under Massachusetts law, a parent has paramount rights and as long as the court determines that a parent is fit and the termination of a guardianship is in the best interest of the child(ren), the court will restore custodial rights to a parent.
Guardianship of a Mentally Impaired Individual
Most guardianships of an incompetent individual deal with individuals who are mentally ill or mentally challenged. A diagnosis of mental illness does not in itself render an individual incompetent. Before a Petition for Guardianship is allowed by the court of a mentally ill or mentally challenged individual, a physician (in cases on mental illness) or a clinical team report (in cases of mental retardation) must be filed a report with the court. Only after a hearing with medical documentation, is an appointment of guardianship made by the court.