Are you and your spouse getting a divorce? If so, you might be wondering how child custody is decided in Massachusetts? Which custody arrangement is best for a child? If you have a custody issue, you will benefit if you understand which custody arrangements are recognized in Massachusetts, and what standards the state uses to decide this matter.
Types of Child Custody in Massachusetts
The following are types of child custody recognized by the family courts in Massachusetts
Sole legal custody- This arrangement gives on parent the right to make critical decisions for a child regarding their education, medical care, and overall development.
Shared legal custody- This arrangement allows each parent to have input into the upbringing of a child.
Sole physical custody-For this arrangement, just one parent has physical custody of a child. The other parent may have visitation rights.
Shared physical custody-Parents who have this arrangement have equal physical custody, and both have a say in the central decisions regarding a child.
How Custody is Determined in Massachusetts
If you and your former partner or spouse cannot decide on a custody arrangement, you can petition a family court to make a determination. When considering the appropriate child custody agreement, the courts will consider the following factors:
The age of the child
Each spouse’s finances
Was there abuse or neglect?
What is each parent’s living situation?
The bond between a child and each parent
What are the wishes of a child?
Which parent can meet a child’s needs?
Typically, family courts in Massachusetts prefer to award parents joint custody, so unless a child is a danger, each parent is awarded equal time.
Hire a Child Custody Lawyer in Massachusetts
If a couple cannot agree on a child custody arrangement, the Massachusetts family court will look closely at each parent’s life to make sure a child has the stability they need. It is important you have a child custody attorney working to protect your rights.
Child custody is a complicated issue, which is why couples need a family court to resolve any disputes they have over custody, support or visitation.
Child Support in Massachusetts
To be awarded child support, you must petition the Massachusetts Department of Revenue Child Support Enforcement Division. Massachusetts uses a calculator to determine how much child support is awarded. Some of the factors considered to calculate child support include:
Annual income of the non-custodial parent
The amount of child support paid for children from a previous marriage
The number of children a custodial spouse must support.
Other expenses which include health insurance, medical care and costs of education and activities.
Unmarried couples can also benefit from legal assistance because they have fewer rights than married parents. No matter what child custody issue you need to resolve, a child custody lawyer in Massachusetts will help you with any related problem your are having and need to resolve. Call today and arrange a case evaluation.
Our lawyers can help you with:
Missed support payments