What are Father’s Rights in Massachusetts?

As a caring father, it is only natural you should want to gain custody of your child following a divorce. Unfortunately, there is a common belief that courts are biased towards women when determining child custody. However, in today’s day and age, the courts are required to make their decision in an unbiased, level-headed manner. If you are a father trying to obtain custody of your child, here are some of the questions you may have:

Physical vs. legal custody

When parents get divorced, they very often want to know the difference between physical and legal custody, as well as what those terms mean for their situation. Generally, fathers wish to gain legal custody of their child, or at least share legal custody of the child with his or her other parent. This is because legal custody implies the parent has the legal authority of essentially all his or her child’s major life decisions. Some of the decisions a parent with legal custody can make include the child’s religion, his or her education, extracurricular activities, and, notably, medical care. On the other hand, “physical custody” simply implies where your child will spend his or her time. If a parent is granted sole custody of their child, for example, this would mean that the child lives with this parent, and he or she also has the authority to make legal and important life decisions for this child.

How will the courts decide child custody terms?

When determining child custody, the courts will take several things into consideration. Massachusetts takes child custody very seriously, and they will ultimately make their decision in terms of what is best for your child, not necessarily for you or your former spouse. However, though they try to always work in your child’s best interest, courts will very often make the wrong decision when determining who holds custody of your child. If you believe this may happen, or it has already happened, you must hire an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Some of the factors the courts will consider are as follows:

  • The relationship between you and your former spouse
  • Your history with the child, and whether or not you pose any sort of a risk to your child
  • Your good faith in seeking child custody
  • The time that has passed since the last contact with your child
  • The bond you and your child have
  • Any other factor the court deems relevant

Contact our experienced Massachusetts firm

If you require compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance for a matter of divorce, family or estate law, please do not hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley today. We recognize the impact a divorce can have on the lives of you or your children, which is why our firm proudly serves clients in Mansfield, Massachusetts and throughout Bristol County.