Open letter to Parents and Attorneys from Probate and Family Court Chief Justice John D. Casey Stresses Important of Co-Parenting and Communication

Shortly into the pandemic shutdown over a year ago, Chief Justice John D. Casey sent out an open letter to the public advising parents and attorneys that parenting plans remained in effect and that parenting time was presumed to be in the best interests of the children absent very specific factual circumstances. As we wind down the pandemic restrictions in Massachusetts, Chief Justice Casey has again penned an open letter to parents and attorneys. In this letter, he points out some of the difficult decisions and challenges ahead as society exists the shutdown and resumes pre-covid levels of activity. Those challenges include things such as whether or not to continue wearing a mask, whether or not a child should attend summer camp or travel for sports, and, in perhaps the most difficult decision to be made, whether or not a child should be vaccinated. While I personally believe that children should be vaccinated in order to protect those in society with compromised immune systems, I also respect the fact that others will have different opinions on this sensitive topic. It is important that parents respect the opinions of one another as they navigate co-parenting in the weeks and months ahead.

Justice Casey’s letter also stresses the importance of co-parenting and communication as society relaxes and ends the many restrictions that have been in place for the last 14 months. Justice Casey urges parents and counsel to work together to attempt to resolve any issues outside of the Court system whenever possible. Dispute resolution outside of Court is always a better means to solve problems. While Attorney Schutzbank is a trained litigator with ample trial experience, he also is committed to dispute resolution techniques such as mediation and the collaborative law process. Dispute resolution models such as these are almost always better for the clients as they allow for the clients to control the process and reach a resolution that is best for all involved rather than putting the lives of their families in the hands of a stranger in the Court system. The Court continues to face a significant backlog due to the limited in-person which means that it will take far longer to reach a trial or other resolution in the Court system.

As we navigate a return to a more open society, should you have a difficult co-parenting issue that you and your co-parent cannot resolve, Attorney Schutzbank can help by mediating the dispute with the co-parents or representing a parent in the collaborative process as well. Attorney Schutzbank urges all parents and attorneys to read the letter from the Chief Justice and to work together to reach amicable resolutions to any disagreements that may arise between co-parents.

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