Child Custody Lawyer Worcester, MA
How is Custody Determined in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, a judge will make a custody determination based primarily on the best interests of the child. Custody laws in Massachusetts do not specifically dictate factors for the judge to consider. Rather, the judge has discretion to make decisions on a case-by-case basis. Ultimately, the judge must consider the child’s welfare and happiness.
Some factors that might help the judge figure this out include:
- Each parent’s ability to provide
- Each parent’s relationship with the child
- The child’s school situation
- If there is a history of domestic abuse or neglect
- Each parent’s health (both mental and physical)
- Other factors that the judge decides to consider
As a parent, your influence on your children is invaluable, and your care is irreplaceable. Don’t let your precious time with your child be taken away; let our our Worcester child custody attorney help you create a custody arrangement that works best for all parties involved. Ayvazian Law offers our clients dedicated and compassionate family law services and will help you through each step of your custody proceeding.
Schedule a consultation with Ayvazian Law by calling (508) 315-6244.
What is an Unfit Parent in Massachusetts?
Since the primary consideration when deciding child custody is the child’s best interests, then an unfit parent will not be given custody. An unfit parent either refuses to or is not able to provide for the needs and welfare of the child.
Factors that might deem a parent as “unfit” include:
- Domestic Violence
- Violent criminal history
- Substance abuse
Sufficient evidence must be presented for a judge to deem a parent as unfit. Furthermore, the parent accused of being unfit has the right to provide a defense. The judge will listen to all the evidence and arguments and make a decision that will most benefit the child.
Your Parental Rights
During divorce proceedings in Massachusetts, both parents are considered to have joint legal custody of a child unless abuse or some other emergency has occurred. Joint legal custody means both parents have the right to make decisions for or about their child. However, this is not the same as physical custody, which refers to where the child spends their time.
Parents can file a joint custody implementation plan either together or on their own. Once this document is submitted, the court will issue a judgment granting legal and physical custody. Parents may receive joint custody or sole custody. It’s possible for the parents to have joint legal custody of a child even if one parent has sole physical custody and vice versa.
Massachusetts law requires joint custody implementation plans to include the following:
- The periods of time the child will reside with each parent (e.g. spending the school year with one parent and summer vacation with the other)
- Holiday arrangements
- Health care
- Procedures for resolving disagreements between the parents
If the parents file separate plans, the court will decide on a custody arrangement based on the welfare and happiness of the child.
Coming to a joint agreement out of court can save a lot of time and hassle. It can also benefit your child by reducing tension and helping you maintain a cordial relationship with your former spouse. If you would like to go this route, but are not in full agreement with your spouse, mediation may help you come to an amicable arrangement.
Whether you need mediation or help fighting for custody of your child, Ayvazian Law can help. Our compassionate legal team works to help our clients think clearly in stressful situations and makes the strongest arguments possible for the welfare of your children. Even in complex situations, you can trust that Ayvazian Law can help you.
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