Child Custody Arrangements in Massachusetts
As difficult as divorce can be on the spouses themselves, arranging child custody often becomes the hardest part.
When a marriage dissolves, one of the main concerns is about how the children will be affected — not only emotionally but also how they’ll develop when traveling back and forth between separate homes.
Nothing is more important to a parent than the health, welfare, and safe custody of their child. At Infinity Law Group, we understand that your top priority is ensuring the best possible child custody arrangement for your children, and we will fight tirelessly to help you protect your family.
The information below will help you understand the law on child custody arrangements in Massachusetts.
What Is a Child Custody Arrangement?
The purpose of a child custody arrangement is to determine which rights each parent will have with respect to their children. Often, this means working out a way for both parents to remain in their kids’ lives, whether with visitation or a shared physical custody agreement.
But those aren’t the only options. In fact, parents and judges can get quite creative when it comes to child custody arrangements in Massachusetts — and a capable lawyer can help.
Contrary to popular opinion, the term “child custody” doesn’t simply refer to which parent the child will live with. In fact, there are two distinct types of custody that a court must resolve:
- Legal custody
- Physical custody
Legal custody defines which rights each parent will have in making major life decisions that impact the child’s welfare and development. These include matters concerning religion, education, health care, legal rights, and much more.
Physical custody, meanwhile, refers to the living arrangements for the child and which parent’s home will serve as his or her primary residence.
Sole Custody vs. Shared Custody
Custody arrangements — both legal and physical — may be either “sole” or “shared.”
Sole custody means that only one parent will have physical or legal custody of the child. Alternatively, shared custody extends rights to both parents simultaneously.
The two don’t always go hand in hand. In some cases, a parent may have sole physical custody but shared legal custody (or vice versa). Talking with experienced divorce lawyers can help you understand which kind of arrangements might work best for you.
Best Interests of the Child Matter More Than Anything
Just as parents have their children’s best interest in mind, so do the courts in our state.
When approaching child custody arrangements in Massachusetts, the courts will hear and assess a number of relevant facts to help determine what is truly the best solution for each child. More often than not, that means having both parents involved in the child’s life to some considerable extent.
There was a time when courts generally felt that mothers were better suited to raise young children. You may have even heard that that’s still the case today. But it isn’t true.
Today’s courts give each parent an equal shot. There is no formal presumption for either the mother or the father, though male clients sometimes feel that an informal preference persists nevertheless. Our divorce lawyers can work with you to ensure that gender doesn’t play an undue role in your case.
Of course, deciding what’s right for the child is no easy task. There are a lot of factors that might affect a court’s decision, and we’ll cover some of those below.
Factors Affecting Child Custody Arrangements in Massachusetts
No two child custody cases are alike. Courts generally understand that, so they try to consider as many specific circumstances as possible when making such an important decision. Factors that may affect child custody arrangements in Massachusetts include:
- The child’s age
- The parents’ ability to communicate with one another
- Stability for the child (school, friends, etc.)
- Each parents’ involvement in the child’s life
- Child’s preference (usually considered more heavily for children over the age of 14)
- Any evidence of abuse
- Any other information relevant to the best interests of the child
Boston Divorce Lawyers with Experience in Child Custody Arrangements
Navigating a child custody dispute may be one of the most challenging experiences of your life. At Infinity Law Group, we understand that difficulty. We’re here to shoulder as much of the burden as possible while fighting hard for your interests.
It’s important to have a knowledgeable and compassionate attorney by your side. Our attorneys will help you stand up for what you believe is best for your child. Please contact our office right away to learn more about how we can help.