If you decide to divorce your spouse, or if you end a relationship with the other parent of your child, you may be wondering how you can co-parent your children. The thoughts about your child’s well-being may fill your mind, leaving you wondering who will our child live with, where will our child live, who will make the decisions his or her life and well-being, how can I make sure our child has a relationship with the other parent. Custody decisions can be difficult in any situation. However, if the parents are hostile toward one another, it may inhibit successful co-parenting. In these situations, the courts can help parents work through their custody and visitation issues.
What are the different types of custody?
There are four main types of custody arrangements in Massachusetts:
Sole legal custody. This means that one parent has the right and responsibility to make all the decisions for the child, in the child’s best interest. This can include making decisions about their academics, medical needs, religious development, and other emotional or moral needs.
Shared legal custody. This means that both parents are obligated to make the decisions for their child. The parents should make and agree on their decisions in the child’s best interest. With shared legal custody, a parent may be able to challenge the decision the other parent wants to make for the child. Parents should work together in deciding what’s best for their child’s academic, medical, religious, and other needs.
Sole physical custody. If a parent has sole physical custody that means that the child resides with one parent and is under the supervision of one parent. The other parent may be entitled to visitation rights, but this can be determined based on a number of different circumstances. Sometimes, the court will weigh in and help determine visitation rights of the other parent.
Shared physical custody. Parents who have shared physical custody usually means that child lives with each parent for a determined period of time. Sometimes this can mean 50/50 custody, which allows the parents equal time with the child. Shared physical custody is an ideal situation for parents who live close to each other. This custody arrangement can help foster a good relationship between the child and the parents.
If you have questions about custody or your rights as a parent, you should contact a family law attorney.
If you are in need of an experienced family law attorney to help you with your matter, contact the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. to schedule your consultation.