Child Custody

Child Custody and Visitation Representation

Your children mean everything to you. I understand.

Since 2002 I have helped both divorcing and never-married parents in seeking to achieve their custody and parenting time objectives in the most cost-efficient and expeditious manner possible, ideally without having to resort to trial.

Custody and visitation can certainly become contentious, particularly when both parents want primary (legal) custody. In these cases, it’s helpful to rely on years of experience and creative problem-solving in seeking to achieve mutually-agreeable custody and visitation plans, where possible. In some cases, when negotiation and mediation efforts are not successful, I am tenacious in seeking the objectives of  my clients at trial.

Understanding Custody and Visitation – What You Need to Know

Child custody and visitation rights are available whenever there is a child produced in a relationship. These rights are available to married, single, and divorced parents.

In Massachusetts the well-being of the children is the focus of the Court. Upon divorce, parents must attend a Parent Education Program, and they  must register for this program within 60 days of serving a divorce complaint.

Types of Custody

There are many different forms of custody that can take place upon divorce.

  • Sole legal – One parent has the right to make all the major decisions regarding the child.
  • Shared legal – Both parents have the right to make major decisions regarding the child.
  • Sole physical – The child lives with only one parent. Courts may allow visitation with the other parent if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the child.
  • Shared physical – The child will share living time with both parents.

How is Custody Determined?

Prior to the divorce being finalized, it is assumed that the parents will have shared custody of the child in all aspects. The judge will then decide what is in the child’s best interest going forward after the divorce is finalized.

Temporary custody orders can be granted based on the best interests of the child. Because the main concern is stability for the child, courts will generally grant temporary custody to the parent whose home the child spends the most time. To be taken from the primary caretaker’s home the parent must be able to demonstrate extraordinary circumstances.

What is in the child’s “best interest”?

In determining the child’s best interest, judges have wide discretion. The judge will assess all the circumstances of a child, including the child’s age, education, school, etc., as well as the parent’s economic status, home, job, etc. Courts will generally make an effort to keep the child in the same home and neighborhood when possible in order to create the least amount of disruption for the child.

Regardless of the type of custody each parent is granted, each parent is given access to the educational and medical records of the child until that child reaches the age of majority. Once a custody order is in place, it can only be modified through a complaint which shows a material change that necessitates modification.

How I Help Clients in Custody Matters

I work hard to achieve the custody objectives of my clients. At the outset of a divorce, there are significant custody matters that need to be addressed immediately, and which potentially can be highly influential in the ultimate custody determinations.

If you have children and are seeking a divorce, or if your spouse has just filed for divorce from you, call me immediately.  I offer reasonable fees and tenacious representation, and, at our meeting, I can explain what needs to be done right away to protect your rights.

How Can I Help?