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Child custody is a serious family law matter

There are many things to consider when filing for divorce, including asset division, alimony and more. However, for many Massachusetts parents, figuring out custody can be one of the most emotionally strained aspects of ending a marriage. Although parents typically want what is best for their children, family law provides guidance to ensure that their best interests are respected and maintained.

Parents often share joint legal custody, allowing them to both make important decisions regarding the major aspects of their child's life, including religion and education. Physical custody, however, can be somewhat more difficult to determine. Parents often attempt to settle how parenting time will be shared outside of court through mediation or negotiation while working alongside their respective counsels. Parents might decide to share physical custody 50/50, while others might find that their child benefits most from spending the majority of his or her time with one parent while maintaining a visitation schedule with the other.

When parents are unable to reach an agreeable custody arrangement on their own, they must proceed to court. A family law judge will take a number of matters into consideration when deciding how to split custody. Although judges follow certain procedures and principles, there is no way to predict how these will apply to individual cases, making it virtually impossible to predict how a judge will grant custody.

Massachusetts parents want what is best for their children. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be complicated by the highly-emotional turmoil of a divorce. Whether parents can reach a custody agreement on their own or must go before a judge, it is usually a good idea to proceed under the guidance of an experienced counsel who understands the intricacies of family law.

Source: FindLaw, "Custody Considerations: Step-By-Step", Nov. 15, 2017

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