As parents we simply want the best for our children. The attorneys here at Briones Law Group want to ensure that your child’s best interest are made top priority by guiding you through the entire custody process and aiding in any and all child custody agreements. We know that these type of cases are sensitive in nature and require the help of a skilled legal professional.
Massachusetts Child Custody Basics
The family courts in Massachusetts evaluate certain criteria to determine who should have custody of a child. Custody could be awarded to the mother, father or both of the parents. There are three types of custody arrangements.
Shared Physical and Legal Custody – Shared physical and legal custody of a child allows for both parents to be equally involved in their child’s life. The child will live with both of their parents at different times and both parents will be responsible for their physical welfare. The mother and father will also be mutually involved in making decisions related to the child such as where they attend school, medical treatment and religion choices.
Sole Physical and Legal Custody – Only one parent can be awarded sole physical and legal custody. This one parent has the legal right to make all major decisions related to the welfare of the child and the child will physically reside only with them. In many cases arrangements are made with the other parent to allow for adequate parenting time..
Sole Physical and Joint Legal Custody – One parent will have sole physical custody of the minor child, meaning that the child will physically reside with them. The other parent may have a parenting schedule that allows for parenting time.. However, both parents must communicate and be mutually involved in making decisions related to the child such as where they attend school, medical treatment and religion choices.
If a child custody case has to be taken to the family court, the decision of who is awarded custody is based on the following:
- Who the child has been residing with in the months leading up to the case
- If one or both parents have an established personal relationship with the child
- If one or both of the parents are providing both physically and emotionally for the child
Joint custody may be awarded if both parents have been working together amicably in providing care for the child and if they both have been able to make joint decisions in their child’s best interest.
The Massachusetts family court will also decide which parent is to pay child support and determine how much that child support would be based on their gross income and the child support guidelines.
Fortunately, not all child custody cases have to go to court. With the help of an attorney a flexible co-parenting plan that works for both the children and parents can be formed. Financial support arrangements can also be outlined in that plan.
Child Custody Lawyer
Even though an attorney is not mandatory in child custody cases, it is highly recommend that you have one because difficulties often arise in these type of cases. You need someone who is going to advocate both for you and your child. Contact us today for legal advice and a consultation on your child custody case.