Fair hearings in probate, family courts
As attorneys, we have a long history of representing both men and women in all family law matters. We are taking the time to write this letter because we are troubled by the tone of Atty. Rinaldo Del Gallo’s opinion piece published in The Berkshire Eagle on January 28, especially by his mischaracterizations of the law and his insinuation that men do not receive a fair hearing in the probate and family courts.
While we cannot speak for courts in other jurisdictions, based upon our extensive experience, we can categorically assert that men and women who find themselves in the unfortunate position of having their marriage or relationship fail obtain a fair and measured hearing in the Berkshire County Probate and Family Court. We have represented both men and women who have received sole physical custody or shared physical custody.
There is no "standard" order issued by the Berkshire County Probate and Family Court relative to custody, visitation or child support. Each case depends on its particular facts and their presentation to the court. We do not always agree with the court’s decisions. However, regardless of the outcome, we know that the court heard our client’s concerns and that the court’s decision was carefully considered.
BRIGID M. HENNESSEY
STEPHEN N. PAGNOTTA
BUFFY D. LORD
The writers are attorneys practicing with Donovan & O’Connor.