Massachusetts Child Custody and Child Visitation
Courts in Massachusetts attempt to appoint child custody to one or both parents by serving the child's best interests and simultaneously lessening the emotional impact on the child. The child's best interests are concluded by assessing a number of factors provided by Massachusetts's law. If only one parent is given sole custody, then the noncustodial parent may request child visitation rights in Massachusetts. Any questions or concerns regarding child custody or visitation rights in Massachusetts should be directed to a Massachusetts' child custody attorney.
Massachusetts Child Custody
Under Massachusetts law, courts may grant a parent either sole or shared custody of a child. Shared custody involves both parents maintaining mutual responsibility and involvement by both parents in major decisions regarding the child's welfare. Massachusetts courts prefer to grant joint custody to parents, unless doing so would not be in the best interests of the child. Therefore, custody will essentially be determined based on the best interests of the child. In making this determination, courts in Massachusetts consider the following:
a) the safety and well-being of the child
b) child's present or past living conditions and their effect on his or her physical, mental,
and emotional health
c) each parent's history of substance abuse
d) whether the parents are able to cooperate in matters concerning the child
e) each parent's history of domestic violence and abuse of children
f) each parent's ability and willingness to maintain a b relationship with the child.
If there are any contested issues of child custody at trial and both parties agree to shared custody, then the court will require each parent to set forth a custody implementation plan detailing all of the relevant facts of the shared custody. If parties have come to an agreement on all issues regarding child custody, then the Massachusetts court may enter an order in accordance with the terms of the agreement.
Any questions regarding the child custody process should be addressed with a Massachusetts child custody attorney to provide the best possible representation for you in court.
Massachusetts Child Visitation Rights
Visitation rights in Massachusetts - rights to visit and spend time with the child - will be granted to noncustodial (without legal custody) parents and nonparents. Massachusetts courts will grant child visitation based on the best interests of the child that is determined by assessing the same factors provided above.
If the parent receiving visitation rights is an “abusive parent” (a parent who has committed a pattern of abuse or a serious incident of abuse), then the court must ensure the safety and well-being of the child and the abused parent. When granting Massachusetts child visitation to an “abused parent” the court must consider doing the following:
Additionally, under Massachusetts' law, no parent who has been convicted of first degree murder may be awarded visitation rights. The only exception to this rule is if the child is of a suitable age to agree to such a custody appointment.
Make sure to discuss your child visitation rights with a Massachusetts child custody lawyer that has worked on child visitation rights.