The preferences and voices of children in Massachusetts

June 20, 2016

In divorce and custody proceedings, courts are often saddled with the heavy burden of determining children’s proper custodial placement. In adjudicating this issue, courts must determine how the child’s preference is obtained and relied upon. This is a process fraught with complexity, as courts must balance protecting the child with procedural due process. In light of these complexities, courts across the country have developed two primary and interrelated means of “hearing” a child’s “voice”: First, by allowing for judicial interviews of children, and second, through representation for the child, whether through an attorney, a guardian ad litem (GAL), or combination thereof.

Continue reading Donald Tye and Michelle Rothman’s publication featured in Massachusetts Lawyers Journal on pages 28-29.

The authors would like to thank the Administrative Office of the Probate and Family Court of Massachusetts for permission to use research conducted for The Voice of the Child committee, which was chaired by the Chief Justice of the Probate and Family Court of Massachusetts; Sara Helmers and Ryan Deck, who were each formerly summer law clerks; and Danielle Starr, who was formerly an associate at Prince Lobel Tye.

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