What Custody Arrangement is Best for a Child in Massachusetts?

child custody gavel

When Massachusetts parents decide to dissolve their marriage, they must choose an appropriate custody arrangement that prioritizes the best interests of their children. Various custody arrangements can be suitable for different families. However, since every family has unique circumstances, a particular custody arrangement that works for one family may not work for another. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to contact our knowledgeable Bristol County Child Custody Lawyers, who can help you determine the best custody arrangement for your family. 

What Are the Different Types of Custody Arrangements in Massachusetts?

If you are divorcing with children, knowing the different custody arrangements available in Massachusetts is essential. Generally, the two primary forms of custody are legal and physical. Legal custody is arguably the most critical factor in a child custody case, as it refers to a parent’s right to make decisions for the child. These significant choices include academics, religion, whether they can participate in certain activities, and health care, to name a few. In most cases, the court will award legal custody to both parents. However, a parent could lose legal custody if deemed unfit to parent.

On the other hand, physical custody refers to where the child resides most of the time. If the child lives with one parent more than 51% of the time, that parent has primary custody, while if the child resides with both parents equally, it is a shared physical custody arrangement. The court typically awards shared custody as it believes it’s in a child’s best interest to benefit from a relationship with both parents. Nevertheless, while the courts prefer shared custody, a parent may be awarded sole physical custody if there is a danger posed by the other parent due to financial hardship or unsafe living arrangements, namely after relocation.

What Co-Parenting Arrangement Might Be Best for Your Child?

It’s essential to understand that Massachusetts child custody is not one-size-fits-all. Parents and their family law attorneys must work together to develop a parenting plan that is based on the best interests of their children. Regardless of the parenting schedule, it must be practical and reasonable. You should consider mediation if you have difficulties agreeing to a custody arrangement. A mediator can help you craft a parenting plan that considers your family dynamic, including the children’s ages, the proximity of your homes, and respective work schedules. For instance, a family may choose a shared physical custody arrangement. However, a shared physical custody arrangement would not be appropriate for a family where one parent is abusive toward the children.

If you are going through a divorce with children, please don’t hesitate to contact a compassionate lawyer from The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C., who can help you prioritize your child’s best interests and fight to protect your parental relationship.