What You Need to Know About Child Custody in Massachusetts

A divorce can be very overwhelming but even more so because children are involved. Various factors come into play when deciding child custody arrangements, but the ultimate goal is to keep the child’s best interest in mind. Therefore, whether it is up to the parents to make custody arrangements, or if the court has to step in, the common goal is to make the transition as smooth as possible for both the parents and the child. This matter deserves attention, and for over 30 years, The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. has provided positive outcomes for families all around Massachusetts. Our firm understands how stressful an uncertain future can be and we are prepared to fight for you. Reach out to an experienced Massachusetts divorce lawyer today.

What are the different types of child custody in Massachusetts?

Physical custody refers to where the child resides. In most cases, parents have a shared physical custody arrangement, meaning both parents will work together to share their time with their child. Courts aim to encourage shared parenting structures when possible. However, in some cases, it may not be possible if there is a danger posed to the child from one parent and their living situation. Therefore, the other parent in this situation would be awarded sole physical custody of the child.

Legal custody is the right a parent has to make significant decisions in their child’s life. Decisions regarding academics, religion, and health care are a few examples. The court will award both parents legal custody unless one parent is deemed unfit. A parent can be labeled as unfit if they have a criminal history, substance abuse, and other issues that lead a court to consider one parent a danger to the well-being of the child. If you need to fight for legal custody, it is important to have knowledgeable legal support to protect the parent-child relationship throughout the process.

Can child custody arrangements be modified?

Child custody arrangements can be modified either through a mutual agreement or a court order. Parents will often change their custody arrangements because for convenience purposes or other reasons they find will best benefit the child. If the parents cannot come to a mutual agreement on custody modifications, the court may step in and consider the changes in circumstances. Some of the most common changes that may merit modifications of custody agreements are:

  • Loss of employment
  • Relocation
  • Changes in work schedule
  • Remarriage

Regardless of the reason, Pennsylvania law offers many ways to change a custody arrangement. If you would like to change a custody arrangement, it is suggested that you do so through experienced family law attorneys.

What factors does the court consider when making custody arrangement decisions?

Courts will take countless amounts of factors into account when deciding on custody. Some of the factors they consider are the stability of the household, criminal history or substance abuse, who parented the child more before the divorce, the impact of the decision on the child’s educational, physical and psychological needs, and the ability to meet the needs of the child’s living arrangements and lifestyle. If you would like to develop a comprehensive plan to protect your relationship, contact our firm.

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.