Who has visitation rights?

Recently, many states have passed laws that give grandparents certain visitation rights with a child after a divorce or after the death of the child’s parent. Predictably, this has given rise to questions about whether this right should be extended to other close relatives, such as aunts, uncles and cousins. The issue came up recently in Minnesota, when a woman asked for visitation rights with her niece – the daughter of her recently deceased identical twin sister. The woman argued that since Minnesota has a law that gives visitation rights to grandparents, it only made sense to include other family
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Can you change your children’s name after divorce?

After a couple divorced, the wife asked a court to change their two children’s last name to her maiden name. (The children had been given the husband’s last name at birth.) The judge agreed, saying that since the mother was the primary residential parent, it should be presumed that she was acting in the children’s best interests, and her decision should be respected. But the father appealed, and a higher court sided with him. The appeals court said that this result might make sense in the case of a child who was born out of wedlock. For instance, if a
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Will I be responsible for half of my wife’s school loan when we divorce?

Additional Information: My wife took out a loan so she could start her own business.   She had hoped to apply earnings toward the mortgage on our North Reading home, and stuff for the kids.  We are now getting a divorce and besides writing a business plan, she hasn’t launched her business.  Will I be liable for half of the loan? ATTORNEY ANSWER: The answer is maybe.  In terms of the divorce itself, if you are not getting an interest in the business, it would likely not be considered equitable for you to be responsible for the loan.  The problem, however,
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When we divorce, will my husband be entitled to half of a gift check?

Additional Information: My husband and I were both in our 40s when we got married, and having an elaborate wedding didn’t seem right, so we eloped. My parents gave me a gift check which we then put toward a house we bought together in North Andover. We are now getting a divorce.  Will my husband get half of this asset? ATTORNEY ANSWER: This is a difficult question to answer with the information provided.  Without knowing the length of the marriage, equity in the house, amount of the gift, other assets involved, amount of liabilities and other pertinent issues, it is
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What are the requirements for an annulment in MA?

Additional Information: I have been married for 8 months, we have a 10 month old daughter. I just found out that my husband has a criminal background and has been using a fake name since I have known him.   What are the requirements for an annulment in MA?  How should I proceed? ATTORNEY ANSWER: It is unfortuate that you’re going through this situation.  There are various grounds for an annulment in Massachusetts.  The one ground that might fit your situation is fraud.  You would have to show that the fraud went to the heart of the marriage.  The fact that
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In MA, can an order for child support be modified without going to court?

Additional Information: My ex and I have agreed to lowered payments and we have drawn up a new agreement which we both signed and had notarized.   Is what we did legally binding or can she sue me for back child support? ATTORNEY ANSWER: While parties can agree to modify without going to court, such agreements are nonbinding.  She can in fact file a contempt for back child support if she so wishes in the future.  There is an easy Joint Complaint for Modification of child support that can be filed administratively and approved without going to court if the clerk
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Can my wife get custody of our son?

Additional Information: My wife and I got divorced two years ago and I got sole custody of our 5 year-old son. My question is if I put it in my will that my brother will take care of my son should I pass, will that happen or can my wife get custody if she wants? Thanks. ATTORNEY ANSWER: As the child’s biological mother (same would apply to fathers in this situation), she will automatically be entitled to custody in the event you die, unless her parental rights have been terminated. The granting of sole legal and/or sole physical custody does
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Can I remove my ex from my health insurance?

Additional Information: As part of our divorce settlement I’m supposed to keep my ex wife on my health insurance. We have no kids. Now I’m getting re-married and I’m wondering what the heck I should do because I’m pretty sure the insurance company isn’t going to let me have two wives on my health insurance policy. How do I fix this? Can I remove my ex from the health insurance? ATTORNEY ANSWER: The “fix” to your situation depends on the language in your separation agreement. In most separation agreements, the provisions covering health insurance generally contain language that states the
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How do I go about filing for divorce if we have no contact?

Additional Information: I separated from husband in 2008 and moved to Chelmsford, MA from NY. How can I get divorce if we have no contact? We did not have any children from marriage but I do have a ten year old from previous. We parted in ill terms & I have no way of contacting this man as I do not know where he moved to after I left. How hard is it to get a divorce in the State of Mass? ATTORNEY ANSWER: It is not difficult to get a divorce in Massachusetts. Usually, you file for divorce and
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Do we have to go in together to file for uncontested divorce in MA?

Additional Information: Do a husband and wife both have to be present to file a joint petition for an uncontested divorce in Massachusetts?  Do we have to go together or can we go separately? ATTORNEY ANSWER: Generally, both parties to a divorce (even an uncontested matter) have to appear at Court to present the separation agreement for approval.  This is so that both parties state on the record that they voluntarily entered into the agreement and agree that it is fair and reasonable under the circumstances. A Motion to Waive Appearance of one Party is sometime allowed for good cause
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