Hingham Child Custody Lawyer
Dedicated to Helping Families Resolve Custody Matters in Newton & Surrounding South Shore
Mediating child custody issues is one of the most effective and least stressful ways to come to a decision. However, we understand that this is not always possible in divorce and family law disputes in Massachusetts. If you and your spouse are unable to decide, the decision will be left to a judge in family court.
How is Child Custody Determined in Massachusetts?
In the state of Massachusetts, custody is determined based on what is in the best interest of the child or children. The judge can look at a number of factors when deciding upon an agreement.
A Few of the Factors Which May Be Considered by the Family Court Include:
- Any history of child abuse
- Any history of domestic violence
- Any history of drug or alcohol abuse
- Relationship between child and each parent
- Each parent's ability to provide for the child
- The child's needs and best interests
Difference Between Legal Custody and Physical Custody
The are a couple of distinctions between the types of custody arrangements available. If at all possible, the courts will favor a scenario where both parents are active in the child’s life. However, there may be some cases where only one parent can receive primary custody of the child.
Types of Custody Arrangements In Massachusetts:
- Sole legal custody: Only one parent has been granted the legal right to make decisions on the child’s upbringing. These include matters such as the child’s health care, education, religious background, and emotional well-being.
- Shared legal custody: Both parents can make decisions about the child’s upbringing.
- Sole physical custody: The child is living with only one parent. The other parent may have parenting time, if the courts deem it will be beneficial for the child.
- Shared physical custody: The child spends time living with each parent individually, and maintains close contact with each parent.
Do you need assistance with your custody case? Please contact Kellem Mahoney Family Law & Mediation Group, P.C. today. Our child custody attorneys in Hingham and Newton strive to ensure your child’s needs are taken care of.
Can a Child Refuse Visitation?
As a child matures and enters their teen years, it is not uncommon for them to refuse visitation from the non-custodial parent. Depending on the circumstances, this may or may not be permitted by the Massachusetts court. While their preferences are taken into account, a judge will always make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child.
Other Factors That the Court Will Weigh When Evaluating the Child’s Wish Include:
- The child’s ability to reason and distinguish right from wrong
- The concrete reasons for the child’s decision to refuse visitation
- Evidence of hostility between the non-custodial parent and child
- Evidence of influence from the custodial parent
If the original custody order outlined a plan for parent visitation, then there was probably good reason behind it. The courts want both parents to take responsibility for the well-being of their child(ren).
At What Age Can a Child Decide Which Parent to Live With in MA?
If the child is mature enough, a judge may find their preference to be compelling if the reasons are legitimate. Generally, the older the child is, the more likely their preferences will be taken into account. However, there are many factors a judge will have to examine before making any final decision. The best interests of the child will always be the top priority in a child custody case in Massachusetts. A common misconception is that courts will always listen to a child that is at least 14 years of age.
At our South Shore firm, we are committed to putting your best interest first and helping you secure the most positive outcome possible. Determining child custody can be a stressful and complex process and we know how to best help you. With years of experience under our belt, you can rely on us to provide you with the compassionate and dedicated approach you need.
We Can Help Protect What Matters Most
If you and your spouse or partner have decided to split up and you have children together, it is important to consult with a child custody attorney in Hingham or Newton. At Kellem✶Mahoney Family Law & Mediation Group, P.C., we help married couples seek divorces, legal separations, and help unmarried couples sort out child custody issues.
We can also share our knowledge on seeking a deviation from the Child Support Guidelines if that is necessary. Our top priority is to handle child custody matters in the most effective way possible to avoid putting stress on you and your children.
To schedule a case consultation with a caring South Shore child custody attorney, please reach out to our firm now.
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