Child Custody in Massachusetts | What You Need to Know

When parents with young children get divorced, they will have to determine child custody. This can be extremely difficult. Often, parents disagree about what is best for their children, and it can be hard to see eye to eye in the midst of a divorce. As a result, custody is often determined by a judge. Read on to learn more about how child custody decisions are made in Massachusetts.

Different types of custody

In Massachusetts, there are two main types of custody:

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.

In some cases, a parent will be deemed unfit, and the other parent will be awarded sole custody. This does not happen often. Additionally, when this does occur, the parent deemed unfit will generally have some type of visitation arrangement.

How is custody determined?

When making a decision about custody, a judge is working to do what is in the child’s best interests. As a result, he or she will consider 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

Our firm understands how stressful custody situations can be. We are here to advocate for you and walk you through the process every step of the way. Reach out today to discuss your options with a skilled and dedicated family law attorney.

Contact our experienced Bristol County 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.