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Child Custody And Visitation

What Are The Types Of Custody?

There are two types of child custody in Massachusetts: legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the ability to make all major decisions regarding the child. This includes decisions pertaining to the child’s health care and education. Physical custody pertains to where the child lives and the authority to make daily decisions for the child. Parents may have sole or shared legal and physical custody.

How Does The Court Decide Issues Of Custody And Visitation?

Judges will consider the best interests of the child, and not necessarily the parents’ wishes, to decide on the issues of custody and visitation. Some of the factors that judges will look at include, but are not limited to, the child’s well-being, relationship with school and ties to the community, the child’s relationship with his or her parents, the parents’ history (including allegations of abuse or drug use), and whether one parent is the primary caregiver.

Can Custody And Parenting Arrangements Change?

The parents can change the terms of custody and parenting by mutual agreement, or they can petition the court to change or modify the existing order. The court will consider whether there is a material change in circumstances since the order was issued and whether the child’s needs are being met with the current order.

Do Same-Sex Partners Have The Right To Custody Or Parental Rights With Their Nonbiological Child?

A parent who has no biological relationship with the child but has participated in the child’s life as a member of their family is called a “de facto parent.” In Massachusetts, a “de facto parent” may request and obtain from the court parenting time with their child.