Creating a Co-Parenting Plan That Works


When going through a divorce with a child or children there are many additional factors you need to take into consideration.  Child custody, child support, and co-parenting all become things that need to be discussed and settled during a divorce.  Depending on the custody agreement between you and your ex-spouse you may find yourself needing to create a co-parenting plan.

A co-parenting plan is a contract that outlines how each parent will raise the child or children after a divorce or separation.  This contract should include a set of guidelines agreed upon by both parents with the best interest of the child in mind.  Co-parenting plans are designed to reduce future conflicts and keep you out of court.

Co-parenting plans should be designed to meet the on-going needs of the child and consider the continuation of family rules and parenting methods that should not necessarily end just because a relationship has ended.  It should also detail how much time the child will spend with each parent, scheduling details, how decisions about the child will be made, and how parental disputes will be resolved.  Having a written plan will help all family members know what is expected of them and can act as a valuable reference in the future.

The key to creating a co-parenting plan that works is to focus on the needs of the child first.  Make sure to consider their need to maintain a consistent routine with their schedule, to maintain a relationship with each parent, as well as assuring that the child is removed from any ongoing or future parental conflicts.

A co-parenting plan should be unique to each family.  There is no best co-parenting plan that families should follow as it depends on the specific circumstances and needs of each member of the family.  But some of the general things that should be addressed in a co-parenting plan are:

  • The child’s developmental needs;
  • The child’s school & extracurricular activities;
  • Parent’s work schedules;
  • Holidays & vacations;
  • Distance & travel between parent’s homes; and
  • The health & disabilities of the child.

Co-parenting plans should be developed with the help of an experienced family attorney.  The attorneys at Maclachlan & Allen LLP are skilled and experienced family lawyers specializing in child custody, child support and co-parenting, among other issues affecting families.  We are committed to providing personalized and compassionate service to each of our clients.  If you are looking for a lawyer that will keep the best interest of your child in mind, while also taking a strong stand to ensure there is a fair parenting plan in place, then call the attorneys at MacLachlan & Allen, LLP today to schedule your free consultation!





How Do I Know When My Divorce Is Final?


Due to the many steps in the divorce process, it can be easy to find yourself confused about when exactly your divorce is finalized and legal.

In order to legally remarry in Massachusetts, your divorce must first be finalized and recognized under Massachusetts state law.  This happens once the nisi period is over.  The nisi period is the time from when the court enters your divorce judgment to when the divorce becomes final by operation of law.  An uncontested divorce is not final until 90 days from the date the judgment is entered and a contested divorce is not final until 120 days from the date of the judgment.

Once your divorce is final you can then request a divorce decree which is the court’s formal order granting a termination of your marriage.  If your divorce goes to court and the judge issues a judgment, the judgment is confirmed when the decree is signed and dated by the judge.  In Massachusetts this will not automatically be given to you, you must request a copy.  After a divorce, it is always important to keep all important paperwork and information on file.  Things like your divorce decree, conditions of a settlement agreement, or any custody agreements.  After your divorce is finalized you will be able to legally change your name, apply for a mortgage, remarry and apply for social security.

A Divorce is a legal ending to a marriage, but it is not the end of your life.  Maclachlan & Allen, LLP, led by Divorce Attorney Aaron E. Allen and his over 14 years of experience, is your best resource to assist you in filing for divorce.  If you are facing a divorce or other issue regarding a marital breakup it is important that you have sound and intelligent legal guidance.  Contact Maclachlan & Allen LLP at (978) 745-9569 today!



How to Protect Yourself in a Drunk Driving Investigation


The holiday season is coming up and that means holiday parties and celebrations. This also means an increase in police out looking for drunk drivers.

Getting charged with an OUI or DWI can be a stressful and intimidating experience whether it’s your first or fifth offense. If you find yourself in a drunk driving investigation it is important to know your rights.

When it comes to drunk driving charges knowing your rights can be the key in successfully defending yourself. When people do not know their rights, they often end up telling police more than they should in the hopes of seeming cooperative. The truth is you do not have to say a word. It is your constitutional right to remain silent – even if your Miranda rights are not read.

When dealing with a drunk driving investigation it is important to stay calm and polite. Without proper evidence, an officer will have no probable cause to make an arrest. Officers will try to get you to incriminate yourself, but by remaining calm, relaxed and polite you will help protect yourself from arrest. Respectfully provide the officer with your name and address then inform them that you will not provide any further information until your attorney is present.

It is also important to remember that you have a right to say no to a field sobriety test. By asking for your consent the officer is admitting they do not have enough evidence for a conviction. You can exercise your constitutional right and refuse a field sobriety test. The fact that you refused a test cannot be used against you in court.

The best defense when it comes to protecting yourself during a DWI/OUI investigation is to wait for a skilled experienced defense attorney to advise you on what to do. Do not talk to police until you have your attorney present. Many times, officers cut corners or make mistakes when it comes to field sobriety test. A skilled attorney can use these police errors to have evidence excluded from the trial or obtain a dismissal.

If you have been charged with an OUI/DWI it is important to remain calm and know your rights. It’s also crucial to have a strong, knowledgeable, and aggressive defense attorney on your side. The criminal attorneys at MacLachlan & Allen are OUI and DWI specialist that will protect your rights every step of the way. Contact us today if you have been charged with an OUI/ DWI.


Difference Between Contested & Uncontested Divorce

There are two types of divorce, contested and uncontested.

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce is when the two parties cannot arrive at an agreement on one or more issues and must be brought to court to adjudicate the dispute.  Many divorces today are considered contested due to the fact that there are so many different issues that must be resolved during the course of a divorce. Some of these issues include:

  • child custody
  • child support
  • property division
  • asset distribution
  • debt allocation
  • alimony
  • temporary spousal support

These topics can be very sensitive and often spouses are unable to come to an agreement without the assistance of an experienced and skilled attorney.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is when the two parties are able to come to an agreement on all issues required to conclusively and effectively terminate their marriage.  They do not need the court to intervene on the division of assets or to make a determination about spousal support or child custody.  However, even with an uncontested divorce you need an experienced and skilled attorney to assist with the drafting of a formal Divorce Agreement.  After both parties sign the Divorce Agreement the attorney will then file with the court and assist the parties in getting the divorce Judgement.

This does not necessarily mean that the divorce was amicable.  Instead, it means that all disputed items raised between the couple were settled without court intervention.  If possible, uncontested divorces are often preferred by couples because of the speed, simplicity, convenience, privacy, and cost effectiveness.  You will benefit from having an experienced and skilled divorce attorney on your side even with an uncontested divorce.

To find out more regarding both uncontested and contested divorce contact the skilled and experienced divorce attorneys at Maclachlan & Allen LLP located in Salem, MA.


Why Do I Need A Divorce Lawyer?

Have you or your spouse recently filed for divorce? A divorce can be a scary and confusing time, and on top of that dealing with the complicated legal system on your own may be more than you can handle. Like many aspects of a divorce, whether you need a lawyer or not is really dependent on the parties involved. Some couples are able to settle their differences without ever stepping foot in a court, while other divorces become a long and complicated process.

But in most cases having someone by your side to help you through the process can go a long way.  Here are a few reasons that you should consider when deciding whether to hire an attorney during a divorce proceeding.

Help reduce stress

Going through a divorce can be a stressful time for everyone involved. By hiring an attorney to help you through the legal issues you can help reduce some of the stress that is involved. A divorce attorney can take care of the entire process for you, allowing you to take the time to care for yourself and your family during this difficult time.

Understand the System

An experienced divorce attorney will understand the legal system and help you get everything you deserve during a divorce. In many cases, an even split of the couple’s assets is not the outcome. If your marriage has any complicated issues to settle you will want the help of an attorney. If there is child custody and/or support issues, income or debt issues, or assets and future assets issues, then hiring an attorney to help protect your interest will pay off in the long run.

Avoid mistakes and delays

Having a divorce attorney on your side can help you avoid mistakes you may have made on your own. Two of the main reasons people make mistakes during a divorce is that they do not fully understand the legal system and they are too stressed too think clearly.  Making mistakes in your divorce proceeding can cause financial harm or could delay the process, costing you even more money. By hiring an attorney you can rest assured that the case is being handled properly and that you will avoid any costly mistakes or delays in your proceedings.

If you are going through divorce and looking for an experienced professional and compassionate divorce attorney, contact the attorneys at Maclachlan & Allen, LLP.

The team of attorneys at Maclachlan & Allen, LLP specialize in Family Law, Divorce and Custody-Support-Visitation. We understand the legal process of Divorce in Massachusetts. At Maclachlan & Allen, LLP we will help you through each step of the process and get you what you deserve.



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