Affidavits of Care and Custody in Massachusetts

What is an affidavit of care and custody, and when does a party need to file one?

The short answer to the latter part of that question: a party needs to file this document whenever there is a proceeding involving the care or custody of a child. In addition to filing with the court, the party must also provide a copy of the affidavit to all other parties involved.

The affidavit must include relevant information regarding care and custody of the child or children involved. Per Massachusetts General Laws, chapter 209b, section 3, this includes the following:

• The present address of residence of the child, as well as each address at which the child has resided during the past two years;
• The names and addresses of any party to any custody proceedings involving the child in the past two years; and
• Information regarding whether the party has participated in any prior custody proceeding involving the child, whether in Massachusetts or in any other jurisdiction; the capacity in which the party has participated; and copies of any pleadings or determinations which were involved.

Custody includes both physical and legal custody, or the right to make decisions on behalf of the child. The affidavit must be written in a form which is in conformance with the relevant court rules. In addition, it must be revised if any new relevant information is discovered regarding the care of the child. Unless good cause is shown and an extension is granted by the court, failure to file this affidavit may result in a party being sanctioned by the court.

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