The Role of Parent Coordinators

The Role of Parenting Coordinators post-Bower
By Amanda Castro, Esq.

The role of a parenting coordinator can be puzzling for parents going through separation or divorce. Many parents will ask themselves: “Why would I want someone else besides myself and my former spouse making important decisions regarding my children’s lives?” Right off the bat, the situation can sound rather undesirable; however, parents should seriously consider the true role of a parenting coordinator and the benefits he or she can provide their family.

Having a parenting coordinator is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is centered on making decisions that involve the children of divorce or separation. The parenting coordinator is a neutral third-party professional who is used as a mediator between high-conflict parents to assist them in implementing their parenting plan.

The main purpose for having a parenting coordinator is to avoid parents making numerous court appearances to file claims of contempt, or for minor temporary adjustments to the existing parenting plan. Going into court and having a judge make these decisions is much more costly and time consuming than having a parenting coordinator on hand to mediate such conflicts as they arise.

Prior to September 2014, judges in the Commonwealth would use their authority to involve a parenting coordinator to mediate these high conflict cases. However, in the case of Bower v. Bournay-Bower, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that Probate and Family Court judges can no longer grant parenting coordinators binding decision-making power over the objection of one of the parties. What this means is that only the parents themselves can agree to have a parenting coordinator make binding decisions regarding their parenting plan.

Practically speaking, a parenting coordinator enters the picture through the separation agreement. The parents can agree in their divorce agreement that in the event that the two cannot agree on issues regarding the children, the parenting coordinator will make a recommendation that will be binding on the parties. Of course, because it is an agreement, the parents can request that their attorney’s adjust the language and provisions as they see fit. However, because either parent is always allowed to then take that recommendation to court if they do not feel it was in the child’s best interest, many attorneys recommend that there also be a provision awarding attorney’s fees to the other parent if the parent who appeals the parenting coordinator’s decision to the judge loses their appeal. In this way, there is less opportunity for bad faith claims against the parenting coordinator to be brought into court, which would defeat the whole purpose of having a parenting coordinator involved.

If you are going through a separation or divorce and you and your former spouse are experiencing many conflicts with regard to parenting decisions, attorneys suggest you strongly consider agreeing to have a parenting coordinator involved in the decision making process. In this way, if you and your former spouse cannot agree on issues involving the children, a neutral third party can mediate and make recommendations in order to avoid numerous court actions. As such, the benefits of parenting coordinators far outweigh the costs in these high-conflict situations.

DHS Designates Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for Temporary Protected Status

By Attorney Rachel K. Dan-Harry

As many of us know, the ebola virus has killed more than six thousand and sickened more than sixteen thousand people in the West African nations of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Despite this huge number of casualties and interventions by humanitarian workers and governments from around the world, the deadly virus continues to spread unabated. The situation, no doubt, is a huge source of concern for individuals from those countries who are currently in the United States temporarily. They have to make tough choices as to whether they should remain in the U.S. and by so doing overstay their visas or return to their countries at the risk of getting infected with ebola. To help those who would prefer to remain in the U.S. until ebola is contained, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on November 20, 2014 announced that the agency would be granting individuals from these three West African countries Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

DHS grants TPS to persons in the United States who are nationals of countries where there is ongoing-armed conflict, environmental disasters or epidemic, or other extraordinary temporary conditions. In the past, DHS has granted TPS to nationals of Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras, and several other countries. TPS is usually granted for a designated period and during that period eligible individuals are protected from detention or deportation from the U.S. In addition, they can be granted authorization to work in the U.S. during the designated period.

It must be noted that TPS is a temporary measure and does not lead to the grant of permanent residency or any other immigration benefit. However, TPS holders can adjust their status to other nonimmigrant or immigrant status if they chose. Also DHS can extend the designated period if the situation in the country continues or worsens.

Individuals from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone who are interested in the TPS are required to apply between Nov 21, 2014 and May 2015. To be eligible an applicant must have resided continuously in the U.S. since Nov. 20, 2014, and must have had “continuous physical presence” in the U.S. since Nov 21, 2014.

Thankfully, individuals from these countries do not have to live in the shadows for fear of deportation. They can stay in the U.S. for the designated period and earn a living as they hope for the best for their countries.

For more information visit: www.uscis.gov or for further information regarding immigration issues, contact Attorney Rachel K. Dan-Harry at Levine-Piro Law, 978-637-2048.   Levine-Piro Law offers free 30 minute consultations either on the phone or in person.

Common Questions Regarding Prenuptial Agreements Answered

“Prenuptial agreement” is probably the last phrase you want to hear your future spouse utter However, pre-nuptial agreements can be in the interest of both parties entering into marriage. A pre-nuptial agreement is one way of having the division of assets addressed in advance of death or divorce. But before you get angry at your future spouse for uttering those words, read through the following post and think about the possibility that perhaps a prenuptial agreement is an appropriate legal mechanism for protecting yourself in event of divorce or death.

Q: What is a prenuptial agreement?
A: By definition, a prenuptial (“prenup”) agreement is simply a written agreement between two people who are about to marry. In the event that the marriage is dissolved, it focuses on the possession of assets, treatment of future earnings, control of the property of each, and potential division.

Q: What can I include in my prenup?
A: Prenups include provisions for all types of financial, property, and personal assets. As long as it is fair and consistent with the laws of Massachusetts, you can include any and all items or assets that already exist or that may exist in the future (anticipated inheritances etc…). Additionally, a prenup can include a provision for future alimony or even a waiver of future alimony.

Q: Do I really need a prenuptial agreement?
A: The risk of not having a prenuptial agreement is that in the event of a divorce or death, you run the risk of the State deciding how your estate should be distributed. Should you have children from a prior marriage, there are some scenarios where the State can grant most if not all assets to the surviving spouse, leaving little to nothing for children from that prior marriage.

Q: Aren’t prenups just for rich people? Do I really need one?
A: Anyone looking to protect any premarital assets should consider a prenuptial agreement.

Q: What if I want to change the terms in the prenuptial agreement later on in my marriage?
A: Prenups can be changed or even cancelled later into the marriage. However, both people in the contract need to agree to the new terms.

Q: I found a sample prenuptial agreement online. Can’t I just write my own based on that one?
A: This is where things can get tricky. While there are plenty of sample prenuptial agreements online, it is questionable whether or not they will be validated in a court of law or if they really protect your individual interests. Additionally, it is hard to tell if the agreement will withstand it being challenged. This is why it is strongly recommended to seek attorneys to help draft your prenuptial agreement. Having a Massachusetts attorney represent you will help ensure that your prenuptial agreement would be consistent with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and increase the changes that it withstand being challenged. The terms of the prenuptial agreement must be deemed fair when it was written and when it is being enforced. Only an attorney can help you draft such a contract. Additionally, we always recommend that both parties should have their own counsel review the agreement.

Q: I heard that Levine-Piro Law is really good. Can’t I just go to them?
A: While we are more than happy to help you draft your prenuptial agreement or review an agreement that has been drafted by another attorney, it is advised for each spouse to seek out separate attorneys (don’t worry, we can point you in the right direction). The reason for this is to increase the likelihood that the prenuptial agreement will be validated. It would be a conflict of interest for our firm to represent both parties.

Q: Will I spend all of my saved assets on attorney’s fees for this prenuptial agreement?
A: The cost to draft and/or review a prenup will vary depending on how much time is required and the time required is based on the length and complication of the agreement.

While no one wants to think of the possibility of divorce or death, either of those possibilities brings forth an onslaught of difficulties. With the use of prenuptial agreements, people can have one less thing to worry about during the stressful times of death and divorce.

Rights to the Engagement Ring When the Wedding is Called Off

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Rights to the Engagement Ring When the Wedding is Called Off

In Massachusetts an Engagement Ring is usually considered a conditional gift. What’s a conditional gift you ask? A conditional gift is a gift that is dependent on something happening. In this circumstance the engagement ring is conditional on marriage taking place. Historically the court has looked to who and why the wedding was called off in determining if the ring should be returned. In the landmark case of De Cicco v. Barker, 339 Mass. 457 (1959) the court held that if the “contract to marry” is terminated without fault or the doing of the person who gave the engagement ring (“the donor”) then he/she may recover the ring. A later case, Poirier v. Raad, 1995 Mass. Super. LEXIS 843, 3 Mass. Law Reporter 265 (Worcester Superior Court), determined that the party terminating the engagement isn’t necessarily at fault. In any event, the individual circumstances surrounding the termination of the engagement will govern.

After marriage, the gift is complete (i.e. no longer conditional) and therefore becomes a part of the marital estate subject to property division. The court considers many factors in determining how property should be divided. Some of those factors include, but are not limited to: the age and health of you and your spouse, the conduct of both of you during the course of the marriage, both your needs, both your debts, both of your abilities to earn money in the future/acquire assets, both of your education levels, both of your current occupations and your current and future earning potential.

If you have a legal issue call the experienced attorneys at Levine-Piro Law today at (978) 637-2048.

Mixed Physical Custody Arrangements and Child Support

In the family law courts there is a tendency of parties, attorneys, and even judges to award physical custody of multiple children as an all or nothing situation. That is, if there are two kids in a family the award of physical custody will likely be the same for both. Often times this is in the children’s best interest. However, sometimes children do better with one parent than with another while another child does fine with both. In these situations mixed physical custody may be appropriate.

An example I’ve come across is where a couple agreed to shared physical custody of one of their one children but one parent retained full physical custody of the other. This custody arrangement was in the children’s, and parties’, best interests given the circumstances. The problem came in calculating child support.

Child support is calculated according to the Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines are normally run with the parent having physical custody of the children being the recipient of child support. However, there are other custody situations that arise. Commonly parties will share physical custody of their 50/50. In this case the guidelines are run “both ways” which means that both parties will run the guidelines with themselves as the recipient. The difference of those two calculations is then paid to the party who earns less. The problem arises then in calculating situations where one party has physical custody of one or more of the children, but shares custody of other children.

Thankfully, the guidelines account for such a situation. The guidelines require that “[w]here there is more than one child covered by this order and each parent provides a primary residence for one or more of these children, child support shall be determined by calculating the child support guidelines twice, first with one parent as the Recipient using the number of children in his or her care, and second with the other parent as the Recipient using the number of children in his or her care. The difference in the calculations shall be paid to the parent with the lower weekly support amount.” This means that if there are two kids, for example, and one parent has sole physical of one child and shares custody of the other, they will run the guidelines with them as having 2 dependents (since they have full custody of one child and share custody with the other). The other party will run the guidelines with them having only 1 child as a dependent (since they share custody of one child). The difference is then paid to the lesser earner.

If you have a child support issue you should contact and experienced family law attorney to discuss your case. Levine-Piro Law handles all aspects of family law, including child support and offers free consultations. Contact Levine-Piro Law at office@levinepirolaw.com or call 978-637-2048.

Because Nobody Gets Out Alive, The importance of health care proxies

Because Nobody Gets Out Alive
The importance of health care proxies

“Everybody has got to die, but I always believed an exception would be made in my case.”
–William Saroyan, 1983

Funny how many, if not most, of us walk around with that same notion in our heads. Understandable. After all, getting in touch with our own mortality is not an easy thing to do. But, one thing I can tell you with a rather high degree of certainty: When it comes to life, nobody gets out alive!

That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you have your core estate planning documents–a simple will, durable power of attorney, and health care proxy–in place for when (not if!) something happens to you. When these documents are not in place, it can wreak havoc on the lives of loved ones who have to manage your affairs while you are incapacitated or settle your estate should you die intestate.

Case in point. A couple of months ago, we executed an estate plan for a client whose friend, let’s call her Emma, had collapsed suddenly with no documents in place. While Emma was lying unresponsive in a hospital bed in Boston, her family members were scrambling to figure out what to do and who could make medical decisions on her behalf. An unenviable position for Emma’s family members indeed. Not so great for Emma either.

Which is why I want to suggest right now, that at a bare minimum, you make sure you have a health care proxy in place. A health care proxy is a document that allows another person whom you designate to make decisions about your health care if you should become incapacitated. This trusted individual, called an “agent,” must make decisions that are consistent with any instructions you have shared as well as your religious or moral beliefs. If that information is not available, your agent would use his or her best judgment to make sure you received medical care that was in your best interest.

Health care proxies differ from living wills, documents that describe the kinds of medical treatment you would like to receive if you are unable to communicate or make these decisions in real time. Living wills are not binding in Massachusetts, but often provide valuable guidance to health care professionals.

Under Massachusetts’ law, if you are at least 18 years old and competent, you can have a health care proxy. It’s a simple document to prepare. Attorneys at Levine-Piro Law are here to assist you. Please contact us at 978-637-2048 or email carolyn@levinepirolaw.com, if you’d like to discuss a health care proxy and any of your other estate planning needs.

Authored by Attorney Carolyn A. Romano

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

DV awreness 2013

I can’t believe I stayed. I can’t believe I put up with the abuse for so long. I should have known better. I took a class on this in college and I fell right into the classic situation I was educated about. Why didn’t I leave? Why did this happen for so long?

These were the exact words a client uttered to me during her first meeting with me not so long ago. This client had endured years of physical abuse from her husband, hiding the bruises and black eyes with makeup, sunglasses, and scarves. When I asked her why she stayed with him for so long she stated she stayed because she was afraid to leave. She stayed because the good times, between the episodes of abuse, were really good and she chose to hold on to the good memories and push the bad ones aside. She stayed because she felt on some level she had deserved the abuse. She stayed because the evil you know can be easier then the evil you don’t know. But then she added she wasn’t going to stay any longer and wanted help to move on. I worked with this client for over a year. She participated in counseling and support groups and at the end of the year she was divorced. I asked her how she felt as we were leaving court after the final divorce hearing and she responded, “free.” For the first time in years my client wasn’t afraid. She was standing taller than I had ever seen her and I could tell she was ready to conquer the world. I can happily report that she has since started a new chapter in her life. She has embarked on a new career path, purchased her first home, and is in a new and healthy relationship.

However, not all women are able to escape. The Justice Department reports that on average in the United States three women are killed each day by their boyfriends or husbands and it is estimated that 24 people per every minute experience intimate partner violence in the US.

The reason I’m writing this is because its October, and October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you’re reading this then I can tell you without a doubt that someone you know, someone close to you, is a victim of domestic violence whether you are aware of it or not. If you are aware of it then I encourage you to talk to that individual and support them, encourage them to seek help. I have attached a list of resources for anyone in need of help.
Domestic Violence Victims often have an extremely hard time finding legal representation. Many times victims are in urgent need of an attorney to help with a restraining order or file a divorce and don’t qualify for pro-bono services or can’t find an attorney fast enough. At Levine-Piro law, we make a point to never turn a domestic violence victim away. We frequently work on a sliding fee scale, payment plans and even defer payment for clients so that they can focus on getting the help they need. Our doors are always open so that women who need legal help can get the help they need when all other doors seem to be closed.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

RESOURCES

Safelink-MA Toll Free Domestic Violence Hotline

Other Domestic Violence Hotlines

MA Laws about Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Information and Resources

Domestic Violence Shelters in Massachusetts

Meet Our New Attorney Carolyn Romano!

Carolyn is an attorney and education specialist with nearly 20 years’ experience in education reform/systems change, special education, disability law and policy, trauma and learning, best practices in teaching and learning, youth development programs and family engagement. Carolyn’s practice areas include special education law, estate planning, and probate.

An attorney since 1995, Carolyn began her career at the Federation for Children with Special Needs, the lead Parent Training and Information agency for Massachusetts. While there, she co-led efforts to secure funding for and directed key programs including: Parents PLACE, Parents Learning About Children’s Education, a federally funded, statewide education reform and family involvement project winning the highest scored grant in the nation and Parents Engaged in Education Reform (PEER) Project, a national education reform and literacy project for students with disabilities. During her time working on the Federation’s Technical Assistance for Parent Programs (TAPP) Project, Carolyn created the first computerized data collection program to assess the impact of all federally funded parent training and parent centers in the nation. It is still used today nearly 20 years later.

Carolyn then joined COMPASS Consulting for several years providing support to school systems through the Service Team Initiative for Massachusetts Schools, focusing on problem-solving for students at risk. While there, she became the lead consultant for trauma and learning, eventually securing funding from state and federal levels for a five-year initiative with the Ludlow Public Schools to create safe and supportive learning environments districtwide.

Carolyn also owns and operates BLISS Healing Arts in Maynard and is the host of Living on Purpose with Carolyn Romano, a twice monthly live radio program that is part of the Dreamvisions7Radio Network. Carolyn is President of the Frank J. Romano Foundation and the Theosophical Society in Boston; she sits on the Board of Directors for MayDOG, the Maynard Dog Owners’ Group.

Divorce support groups and other self-care strategies are also available through the firm’s collaboration with Bliss Healing Arts. New groups are forming now.

Required Parenting Class for Divorcing Parents

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Did you know if you are going through a divorce in Massachusetts and you have minor children then you are required to take an approved parent education class? This class is mandatory unless the court gives you permission to waive the requirement. The class must be completed by the time of your final hearing in court.

The class is offered in towns throughout the Commonwealth and lasts for two sessions of 2 1/2 hours each. Each parent is responsible for paying for the cost of the program, but it usually is not more then $65 per person.

The purpose of the class is to educate parents on how the divorce will affect their children and help them with parenting through some of the issues that may arise.

It is your responsibility to register and attend the class. Once you have completed the two sessions, a certificate of completion will be issued, which you will need to send to the court as proof of your attendance.

Below you will find a partial list of updated classes, but for a complete list you may wish to contact the court in the county where your divorce is taking place.

APPROVED PARENT EDUCATION PROGRAM PROVIDERS
*All programs are 2 sessions of 2 ½ hours each unless noted otherwise
**Program also offered in Spanish
October, 2007

ACTON
Changing Families, Changing Times
Boundaries Therapy Center
518 Great Road
Contact: Helen Frey
(978) 263-4878
Website: www.divorcecenter.org

AGAWAM
Parents, Children & Divorce
Behavioral Health Network
Agawam Counseling Center
30 Southwick Street
Feeding Hills
Contact: Coordinator
(413) 786-6410

ATTLEBORO
*Family Service Association
of Greater Fall River, Inc.
Arbour Fuller Hospital, 200 May Street
Contact: Family Service Department
(508) 678-7542
Website: www.divorcingparents.com
[2 sessions of 3 hours each]

BEVERLY
**Parent Education
and Custody Effectiveness – PEACE
North Shore Counseling Center
23 Broadway
Contact: Linda Migdole
(978) 922-2280
Spanish language program (978) 922-3605
Website: www.nsccpsyc.com

BILLERICA
Divorce and Its Impact
on Children’s Development
Perspectives
First Parish Church
7 Concord Road
Contact: Madeline Segal
(978) 745-7808

BOSTON
Parents Apart
Family Healthy Choices
Massachusetts General Hospital
15 Parkman Street
Contact: Steven Nisenbaum
(978) 887-6342

BRAINTREE
Parents Apart
Divorce Center, Inc.
Braintree Health South Hospital
250 Pond Street
Contact: David Seaquist
(888) 434-8787
Website: www.divorcenter.org

BROCKTON
*Set A Good Example (SAGE)
Mass. Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC)
231 Main Street
Contact: James Kenney
(800) 339-2204
[2 sessions; First 2 hours, Second 3 hours]
Parents Apart
Mass Bay Counseling
Massasoit Community College
1 Massasoit Avenue
Contact: Danielle Latteo
(617) 786-3027

BROOKLINE
For the Sake of the Children
Center for Families in Transition
1419 Beacon Street
Contact: Stuart Andrews or Elka Schlager
(617) 489-2922

BROOKLINE
Parenting Through Divorce:
Supporting the Child
Boston Graduate School
of Psychoanalysis
1581 Beacon Street
Contact: Maureen K. Ryan
(617) 277-3915
Website: www.bgsp.edu

CAMBRIDGE
For the Sake of the Children
Center for Families in Transition
Cambridge YWCA, 7 Temple Street
Contact: Stuart Andrews or Elka Schlager
(617) 489-2922

CHELMSFORD
Moving Forward
Life Transitions Inc.
10 Billerica Road
Contact: Robert DiMeo
(978) 649-6255
Website: www.lifetransitionsinc.net

CHICOPEE
Parents Apart
Elm’s College
291 Springfield Street
Contact: Judith Haggerty
(413) 528-3508

DANVERS
Parents Apart, Family Healthy Choices
Calvary Episcopal Church
Cherry Street
Contact: Steven Nisenbaum
(978) 887-6342

FALL RIVER
*Family Service Association
of Greater Fall River, Inc.
151 Rock Street
Contact: Family Service Department
(508) 678-7542
Website: www.divorcingparents.com
[2 Sessions of 3 hours each]
*Set A Good Example (SAGE)
Mass. Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Children
46 North Main Street
Contact: James Kenney
(800) 339-2204
[2 sessions; First 2 hours, Second 3 hours]

FITCHBURG
**Reducing the Effects of Divorce
Children’s Aid & Family Service
United Way of Central Massachusetts
915 South Street
Contact: Family Counseling Center
(978) 345-4147

FRAMINGHAM
Consider the Children
Divorce Education, Inc.,
Mass Bay Community College
19 Flagg Drive
Contact: Diane Ferkler or Samuel Chiancola
(508) 435-4745

GARDNER
Reducing the Effects of Divorce
Children’s Aid & Family Service
Colonial Bed, Breakfast & Conference Ctr.
625 Betty Spring Road
Contact: Family Counseling Center
(978) 345-4147

GLOUCESTER
Parents Apart
Sawyer Free Library
Dale Avenue
Contact: Joyce Fossa
(978) 546-9544

GREAT BARRINGTON
Parents Apart
Great Barrington Police Station
Main Street
Contact: Judith Haggerty
(413) 528-3508

GREENFIELD
Families in Transition (FIT)
Franklin County Bar Association
Franklin Medical Center
Contact: Mimi Gordon
(413) 773-9839

GROTON
Reducing the Effects of Divorce
Children’s Aid & Family Service
First Parish Unitarian Church, Rt. 119
(978) 345-4147

HANOVER
Parents Apart
Marvista Psychological Associates, PC
South Shore Vocational High School
Contact: Selma Ingber or Charles Mundhenk
(781) 383-0860
Website: www.divorcenter.org

HAVERHILL
Positive Co-Parenting in Difficult Times
Psychotherapy Associates of North Reading
Northern Essex Community College
Contact: Dr. Donna Whipple
(978) 664-2566 ext. 5
Website: www.panr.net

HYANNIS
* Set A Good Example (SAGE)
MSPCC
206 Breeds Hill Road
Contact: Laura Rittel
(508) 775-0275
[2 sessions; First 2 hours, Second 3 hours]

LAWRENCE
**Divorce and Its Impact
on Children’s Development
Perspectives
Northern Essex Community College
45 Franklin Street
Contact: Madeline Segal
(978) 745-7808

LEXINGTON
Parents Apart
Charis Institute, Inc.
3 Militia Drive
Contact: Daniel Verrengia
(781) 863-0350 x503

LITTLETON
Moving Forward
Life Transitions, Inc.
461 King Street
Contact: Robert DiMeo
(978) 649-6255
Website: www.lifetransitionsinc.net

LOWELL
Divorce & Its Impact
on Children’s Development
Perspectives
Pawtucket Congregational Church
15 Mammoth Road
Contact: Madeline Segal
(978) 745-7808

LYNN
Divorce and Its Impact
on Children’s Development
Perspectives
Atlantic Care Medical Center
500 Lynnfield Street
Contact: Madeline Segal
(978) 745-7808
Understanding the Effect
of Divorce on Children
Family & Children’s Service
of Greater Lynn, Inc.
111 North Common Street
Contact: Linda Demerjian
(781) 598-5517

MARLBOROUGH
Consider the Children
Divorce Education, Inc.
Relationship Institute
431 Bolton Street
Contact: Diane Ferkler or Samuel Chiancola
(508) 435-4745

MARSHFIELD
Parents Apart
Mass Bay Counseling
Marshfield High School
89 Forest Street
Contact: Danielle Latteo
(617) 786-3027

MEDFORD
Positive Co-Parenting in Difficult Times
Psychotherapy Associates
of North Reading
Medford High School
489 Winthrop Street
Contact: Dr. Donna Whipple
(978) 664-2566 ext. 5
Website: www.panr.net

MELROSE
Divorce and Its Impact
on Children’s Development
Perspectives
Melrose Highlands
Congregational Church-
355 Franklin Street
Contact: Madeline Segal
(978) 745-7808

MILFORD
Consider the Children
Divorce Education, Inc.
Milford High School
31 West Fountain Street
Contact Diane Ferkler or Samuel Chiancola
(508) 435-4745 or (508) 473-4674

NEEDHAM
Focusing on Our Children
Divorce Education Services
Deaconess-Glover Hosptial
148 Chestnut Street
Contact: Ann Steele
(781) 237-5064

NEW BEDFORD
*Family Service Association
of Greater Fall River, Inc.
Fisher College
777 Church Street
Contact: Sue Rogue
(508) 678-7542
Website: www.divorcingparents.com
[2 sessions of 3 hours each]
*Set A Good Example (SAGE)
Mass. Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Children (MSPCC)
558 Pleasant Street
Contact: James Kenney
(800) 339-2204
[2 sessions; First 2 hours, Second 3 hours]

NEWBURYPORT
Parents Apart
Family Healthy Choices
Nock Middle School
Contact: Steven Nisenbaum
(978) 887-6342

NORTH ANDOVER
Putting Children First
Family Service, Inc.
Merrimack College
Contact: Intake Worker
(978) 683-9505

NORTH DIGHTON
Family Service Association
of Greater Fall River, Inc.
St. Joseph’s Parish Hall, Spring Street
Contact: Sue Rogue
(508) 678-7542
Website: www.divorcingparents.com

NORTH READING
Positive Co-Parenting in Difficult Times
Psychotherapy Assoc. of North Reading
324 Main Street, (Rt. 28) and
Barberry Road
Contact: Dr. Donna Whipple
(978) 664-2566
Website: www.panr.net

NORTHAMPTON
Parents and Children in Transition
(PACT)
Hampshire County Bar Association
Hall of Records Community Room
33 King Street
Contact: Intake Worker
(413) 586-4597

NORWOOD
Focusing on Our Children
Divorce Education Services
Norwood Hospital
800 Washington Street
Contact: Ann Steele
(781) 237-5064
Parents Apart
Child & Family Psychological Services
Norwood Junior High School
Contact: Coordinator
(781) 551-0999
Website: www.cfpsych.org

PITTSFIELD
Families in Transition
Family Center of the Berkshires
Berkshire Medical Center
741 North Street and
Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services
of the Berkshires
333 East Street
Contact: Patrick Fleming
(413) 447-2142

PLYMOUTH
Parents Apart
Marvista Psychological Associates, PC
Plymouth North High School
41 Obery Street
Contact: Selma Ingber or Charles Mundhenk
(781) 383-0860

QUINCY
Parents Apart
Mass Bay Counseling
North Quincy High School
315 Hancock Street
Contact: Danielle Latteo
(617) 786-3027

SALEM
Divorce & Its Impact
on Children’s Development
Perspectives
13 Hawthorne Blvd.
Contact: Madeline Segal
(978) 745-7808

SANDWICH
For the Sake of the Children
Center for Families in Transition
142 Main Street
Contact: Stuart Andrews
(617) 489-2922

SOUTHBRIDGE
Parents Apart
George B. Wells Human Service Center
Harrington Memorial Hospital
29 Pine Street
Contact: Martha Miller
(508) 765-9167

SPRINGFIELD
Parents, Children and Divorce Program
Behavioral Health Network
Child Guidance Clinic
110 Maple Street
Contact: Coordinator
(413) 732-7419
Parents & Children in Divorce
Child & Family Service
of Pioneer Valley, Inc.
Baystate Medical Center
759 Chestnut Street
Contact: Coordinator
(413) 737-4718
Website: www.cfs.org

TAUNTON
*Family Service Association of Greater
Fall River, Inc.
Memorial United Methodist Church
176 Somerset Avenue
Contact: Family Service Department
(508) 678-7542
Website: www.divorcingparents.com
[2 sessions of 3 hours each]

WAKEFIELD
Partners for Positive Co-Parenting
Riverside Community Care
338 Main Street, Suite 304
Contact: Coordinator
(781)246-2010

WALTHAM
Parents Apart
Divorce Center, Inc.
West Suburban Chamber of Commerce
84 South Street
Contact: David Seaquist
(888) 434-8787
Website: www.divorcenter.org

WARE
Parents and Children in Divorce
Child & Family Services
of Pioneer Valley
Mary Lane Hospital
85 South Street
Contact: Coordinator
(800) 232-0510
Website: www.cfs.org

WAREHAM
Parents Helping Children
Through Divorce
Psychology Associates
Wareham High School
Contact: Debbie Bell
(508) 747-2718

WATERTOWN
Families Divided
Divorcestep
80 Mount Auburn Street
Contact: Coordinator
(508) 358-7688
Website: www.divorcestep.com

WEST BARNSTABLE
Parents Apart
Mass Bay Counseling
Cape Cod Community College
2240 Iyanough Road
Contact: Danielle Latteo
(617) 786-3027

WEST SPRINGFIELD
Parents Apart
Parents in Cooperation
Brightside Center for
Families and Children
2112 Riverdale Road
Contact: Barry Krimsky
(413) 735-1719
Parents & Children in Divorce
Child & Family Service of Pioneer Valley
425 Union Street, Level D
Contact: Coordinator
(413) 737-4718
Website: www.cfs.org

WEST TISBURY
Parents Apart of Martha’s Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard Community Services
First Congregational Church
Contact: Coordinator
(508) 693-7900

WESTBOROUGH
Divorce that Works for Children
Active Counseling Associates
43 Hopkinton Road
Contact: Sylvia Sirignano, Glenn Smith
(508) 366-7557

WORCESTER
Parents Apart
University of Mass. Medical Center
55 Lake Avenue North
Contact: Nancy Perkins
(508) 856-8600
*Children Cope with Divorce
Jewish Family Service of Worcester
646 Salisbury Street
Contact: Zelda Schwartz
(508) 755-3101
Website: www.jfsworcester.org
[2 sessions of 3 hours each]
Parents Apart
Family Services of Central Massachusetts
31 Harvard Street
Contact: Intake Department
(508) 756-4646
Website: www.fscm.org
Consider the Children
Divorce Education, Inc.
6 Melville Street
(508) 435-4745
Contact: Diane Ferkler or Samuel Chiancola

Making Divorce Easier for Children

divorce and children

People underestimate what children experience in divorces, but children see and hear more then most divorcing parents think they do. The initial stages of the divorce, and the first few years after the divorce, are the hardest for children to adjust to. As parents, it is your job to maintain a sense of normalcy for your children and minimize the conflict they are exposed to.

For the benefit of your children:

1) Try to have arguments out of ear shot of the children;

2) Talk to your children about what’s going on and answer any questions they may have, but make sure they know that they were not the reason for your divorce;

3) Do not say disparaging comments about the other parent in the presence of the children;

4) Encourage your children to regularly see and talk to the other parent;

5) Allow your children to bring toys and items back and forth from your houses;

6) Keep routines (and rules) consistent in both households;

7) Reassure your children that you love them;

8) Don’t use your children as your messenger to the other parent.;

9) Don’t underestimate the power of co-parenting counseling and classes;

10) Spend quality time with your children whenever possible.

If you are going through, or contemplating a divorce, call Levine-Piro Law for a free consultation.