How is Child Custody Determined in Massachusetts?

When couples with children decide to get divorced, there are a lot of different matters to work out. One of the most important things to determine is child custody. Read on to learn more about the different types of custody and how a Massachusetts court will determine custody.

What are the Types of Custody?

In Massachusetts, there are two main types of custody: physical and legal.

Physical custody: This is awarded to the parent with whom the child spends the most time. Often, parents work together to share physical custody. Sometimes parents work to split custody equally, and other times one parent has the child for more time. The parent with physical custody may be entitled to child support.

Legal custody: This refers to a parent’s legal right to make important decisions in the life of the child. These decisions may regard choices about the child’s academics, religion, and health care. Normally, legal custody is awarded to both parents.

For the most part, Massachusetts courts believe that a child benefits from having a relationship with both parents and will attempt to establish a shared parenting structure. In rare cases, a parent may be deemed unfit and will lose physical and/or legal custody. This happens if the parent poses some sort of danger to the child, resulting in only one parent having custody of the child.

How is Custody Determined?

Child custody is an extremely important issue. Massachusetts courts are working to do what is in the child’s best interest. In order to make this decision, a court may examine some of the following factors:

  • The stability of each household
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • Any history of alcohol/substance abuse
  • Who parented the child more often before the divorce
  • How the decision will impact the child’s needs (educational, physical, and psychological).
  • The parent’s ability to meet the needs of the child

If you have any questions or concerns regarding child custody in Massachusetts, contact our firm today. We are here to advocate for you and walk you through the process each step of the way.

Contact our Firm

For over 30 years, The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. has provided quality legal support and representation for clients in Bristol County and all of Massachusetts. Our firm’s experience eases the stress of clients while providing the legal services they deserve. If you need help through a contested divorce, contact The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. for a consultation today.