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If you are not worried about health or safety

Produced by Attorney Jeff Wolf for MassLegalHelp
Created March 2017

Ongoing cases

An ongoing case is a case that is still in court. There is no final judgment. The judge has not yet made a final decision.

If you are in an ongoing court case like Divorce, Paternity, Separate Support, or a Custody-Support-Parenting Time (Ch. 209C) case, and you need a Parenting Time or Visitation Order, use a Motion and a Proposed Order.

See John and Jane Doe’s story.

No ongoing case

There is no ongoing case if the court has already made a final judgment in a case between you and the other parent or there is no case in court right now between you and the other parent.


  • you are not in an ongoing case with the other parent,
  • there is no visitation or parenting time order, and
  • you need a Parenting Time Order,

file a complaint like Separate Support, or Custody-Support-Parenting Time (Ch. 209C). If you also need a divorce, or your child has no legal father, you would file a complaint for Divorce or Paternity. In the complaints you can also ask for a Parenting Time Order.

Important reminder

  1. Only start a case in court if you need a court order.
  2. Once you start a case, the other parent can bring up other issues that concern them, like custody or child support or domestic violence. If you file a case, the other parent can file their own case to respond to yours.
  3. Even if you are not worried about health or safety, the other parent might be.
  4. If you are not sure if you need to file a case, talk to a lawyer.

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