Child custody is one of the most sensitive issues facing divorcing and unwed parents in Massachusetts. Whether you are navigating a divorce or looking to protect your parental rights, having informed representation is essential. That’s where LaFountain & Wollman, P.C. can assist you. We know that nothing matters more than your relationship with your children and will help you find a solution that works best for everyone.
Although custody issues can and should be resolved through negotiations, we are well-prepared to litigate in family court if necessary. Above all, we will work with you to reach a custody arrangement that is in your children’s best interests. Contact us today to discuss your child custody case in confidence.
Understanding Child Custody in Massachusetts
Generally, there are two types of child custody – legal and physical custody:
- Legal custody is the right of each parent to make decisions about their child’s education, medical care, and upbringing
- Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the child will primarily live
The court will consider the child’s best interests when making a custody determination based on:
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child
- The child’s preference (if they are mature enough to express one)
- Other factors, such as the child’s school and community ties
Joint v. Sole Custody
Divorcing parents may agree on (or the court may grant) sole or joint custody:
- Sole custody – one parent has physical custody of the child while the other parent will have visitation rights or parenting time.
- Joint custody – both parents have legal and physical custody of the child, equal decision-making authority, and share the physical custody of the child.
The courts in Massachusetts prefer joint legal custody arrangements and may grant joint physical custody if both parents can mutually agree on the division of overnights, weekends, and holidays. However, the courts may award sole custody if there is evidence of abuse or neglect.
When disputes arise, we recommend that clients find agreements through mediation or negotiation.
If parents cannot agree on custody, the court will determine the arrangements. In doing so, the court may order an evaluation of the family to determine the child’s needs. In some cases, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem, an attorney appointed to represent the child’s interests.
Child Custody Modifications and Enforcement
At LaFountain & Wollman, we assist parents in modifying and enforcing support orders. Notably, child custody arrangements may be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances; for instance, a parent wants to move to a different state or the children’s needs change. As with any other decision involving children, the court will consider their best interests.
In the event a parent violates a child custody order, the other parent can ask the court to enforce it. The court may do so and even hold the non-compliant parent in contempt of court, which can result in fines or jail time. However, the court is not likely to imprison a parent given that being in jail will make it impossible for them to earn income to pay child support.
Why Choose Us?
Child custody disputes can be legally complex and emotionally challenging, which makes having the informed representation LaFountain & Wollman provides essential. When you work with us, our experienced child custody attorney will explain the relevant custody, visitation, and child support and help negotiate a child custody agreement that meets with court approval.
Whether you are divorcing or separating from your partner, you can depend on us to prioritize your children’s best interests and protect your parental rights. We understand the sensitive nature of custody proceedings and the lasting impact disputes can have on children. Above all, we work to find amicable solutions and help families strike a balance.
We have access to a respected network of family counselors who can provide guidance and support during this challenging time and will offer you a safe environment in which you can make well-thought-out decisions for you and your family. With LaFountain & Wollman, you will have allies in maintaining your relationship with your children post-divorce.
Talk To An Experienced Child Custody Attorney Today!
If you are facing a child custody dispute, having informed counsel can make all the difference. Trust LaFountain & Wollman to help you achieve the best possible outcome for you and your children. Contact us today for a consultation.
Helping clients in Middlesex County, Norfolk County, Suffolk County, and Essex County.