February 02, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- How Do Courts Make Child Custody Decisions in Massachusetts?
One of the more difficult parts of a couple splitting up can be determining who will get custody of any children that resulted from the relationship. Each parent wants what is best for the child, but parents do not always agree on what that means. In such cases, the court must determine the custody arrangements. Massachusetts parents should know the different types of child custody that exist and how courts make custody decisions.
Types of Child Custody in Massachusetts
The different types of child custody in Massachusetts are:
-Legal: Legal custody means that a parent has the right to be involved in major decisions about raising the child. Such areas include education, health care and religious training. Shared legal custody means both parents make decisions about the child; sole legal custody means only one parent makes such decisions.
-Physical: Physical custody is when a child lives with and is under the care of a parent. Shared physical custody means that the child spends frequent amounts of time with each parent. Sole physical custody is when a child lives with only one parent and the other parent has visitation time.
When married parents file for divorce, the court automatically grants temporary shared legal and physical custody until the parents reach a permanent child custody agreement, unless it finds that shared custody is not in the child's best interests. If either of the parents wants to petition for permanent shared legal or physical custody, the parent will have to submit a proposed parenting plan to the court outlining how the parents will share custody of the child.
The parenting plan should include:
-A visitation schedule, including where the child will spend holidays
-How the parents will make decisions about the child's education and health care
-A dispute resolution method for the parents to employ when they cannot resolve parenting disagreements
Best Interests of the Child
When parents cannot agree on custody arrangements for their children, the court must make decisions for the parents. Massachusetts courts decide custody matters based on what is in the child's best interests. The court will examine whether the child's past or present living arrangements have detrimentally affected his or her physical, mental or emotional well-being.
Unless the court hears evidence to show differently, it presumes both parents are equally fit to raise the child. The court may choose to accept one parent's proposed parenting plan, modify a proposed parenting plan, or reject a proposed parenting plan and award sole custody to one parent.
Child custody matters can be emotionally-charged and difficult to handle alone. If you have questions about child custody, seek out a qualified child custody lawyer who can assist you.
Article provided by Law Office of Warren M. Yanoff
Visit us at http://www.warrenyanofflaw.com---
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