On this page we are compiling links to the full text of important Massachusetts Appellate Cases on Family Law and Divorce decided by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
These cases are for educational purpose only and should not be used for any official or legal purpose. Please consult official reports. Below you will be able to search for Massachusetts Appeals Court Slip Opinions and Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Slip Opinions relating to Adoption.
In a proceeding to bypass a mother’s right to consent to her child’s adoption, the trial court improperly disqualified that child’s attorney who represented her grandfather in a different proceeding. No evidence was presented to the trial court to indicate that the grandfather had access to confidential records or that the attorney had “sympathies” which would have affected his zealous advocacy for the child. The attorney’s prior representation of the child’s grandfather was not in the same or substantially related matter as the present case and there was not a substantial risk of the representation being materially adverse to the child’s best interests. Therefore, no conflict of interest existed and the attorney’s representation was allowed.
On appeal, the court addressed whether father was entitled to representation during the adoption trial terminating his parental rights. The Probate and Family Court approved the adoption of his two sons and terminated his parental rights. Petitioners were the mother and stepfather. Four days after the decrees entered, the Supreme Judicial Court held in Adoption of Meaghan (461 Mass. 1006, 1007-1008 (2012)) that indigent parents and the children are entitled to representation in a termination and adoption action initiated by a private party. The court concluded that the decision in Adoption of Meaghan applied retroactively to adoption cases that were not final at the time of the decision; hence, the father (if indigent) and the children had a right to representation in this case.
ADOPTION OF ILONA. [Note 1] 76 Mass. App. Ct. 481 September 16, 2009 – March 19, 2010 Court Below: Juvenile Court Department, Suffolk Present: CYPHER, GRAHAM, & FECTEAU, JJ. Related Case: 459 Mass. 53 Further appellate review granted, 457 Mass. 1101 (2010). PETITION filed in the Suffolk County Division of the Juvenile Court Department on December 28, 2006. The case
The Supreme Judicial Court found that the trial judge did not err in terminating mother’s parental rights or in leaving visitation between the mother and child to the discretion of the pre-adoptive parents. The court noted there was no reason to doubt that the child’s pre-adoptive parents would use their discretion in accordance with the child’s best interest, nor was there any reason to order visitation to protect the child’s best interest.