Questions About Child Custody and Parenting Plans? Call a Massachusetts Lawyer.
In most cases, children are best served when they have full and open access to both parents and feel they are living in a loving environment — even though mom and dad no longer live together. Whether your children live with you full-time, part-time or not at all, it's important for their stability and well-being that the parties to the litigation step up their role as a responsible, accountable and compassionate parent. This role begins with helping to guide children through the unsettling passage that begins the first day that one of the parents leaves the family home.
How a Judge Decides
When the parties to a court action cannot agree on how to handle custody of the children, a judge is forced to make these decisions. Like referees and umpires in professional sports, judgment calls are often made in the heat of the contest and decisions are based on knowledge, experience and perception.
The Worcester County Probate and Family Court judge uses the best interests of the child as the standard for determining custody and visitation arrangements. There are several combinations of custody and visitation that can be awarded, including:
- Legal custody: Legal custody gives an adult the right to make all the decisions about a child's upbringing, including decisions for the child regarding education, health care and religion. Legal custody can either be sole or shared between the parents.
- Physical custody: Sole physical custody is when a child lives with one parent and the other may have visitation rights. Joint physical custody occurs when a child is able to reside with each parent for a substantial amount of time during the course of the week or month.
Temporary Orders Help to Establish the Status Quo
Even before the case really gets started, the court will issue a temporary order of custody, deciding where the children will live and how they will split their time with the parents while the case moves forward. Temporary orders are crucial because, once set, judges are hesitant to change what has already been set and put into place. At the Worcester office of Massachusetts Family Law Group (MFLG), our attorneys help clients in child custody matters from the start of the case.
Mother's Rights and Father's Rights During Divorce
The time a mother gets to spend with her kids is precious. During a divorce, it can feel as though time is being threatened when terms like "sole custody" and "visitation" get thrown around. The truth is that the threats of "taking the kids away" may stubbornly persist. Parents too often try to use this threat as a means of getting what they want from the other spouse, be it more child support or a greater distribution of the marital estate.
Fathers are often worried about being given second-class status in Worcester "custody" cases. Society tells some it is the man's job to work and provide for his family, not to fix dinner, work on homework or tuck the children in at night.
Our lawyers help by explaining to both mothers and fathers how a court reaches a decision — especially if the case ends up going to trial. Our experienced and aggressive lawyers are familiar with the legal standards that each of the Worcester judges apply in cases like these.
Wondering Who Gets the Children?
Contact our Worcester and Southbridge child custody lawyers to learn how we can help. Call us toll free at (800) 970-LAWYER. Known as some of the most sought after domestic relations litigators in Massachusetts, we handle more custody cases in one year than most attorneys do in a lifetime of general practice. We can help you.