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Sole and joint child custody indicated in various situations

One of the sticking points in many divorce proceedings is determining which parent will get to keep the child. After all, losing assets might be painful from a financial standpoint, but losing a child in a custody battle can be even more painful from an emotional standpoint. Various types of child custody may work for a family in Massachusetts, depending on the needs of the children and of the family as a whole.

In some cases, sole physical or legal custody is awarded to a single parent. Sole physical custody may be awarded if the other parent is determined to be unfit to fulfill parental responsibilities. This is often attributed to alcohol, financial or drug issues. Sole legal custody gives one parent has the authority to make decisions regarding a child's upbringing, which may include where the child goes to school and what religion the child will practice.

Joint custody is another option when the parents of a child live separately but both assume responsibility for the care and upbringing of the child. When couples have joint physical custody, they usually have joint legal custody, too. However, when parents have joint legal custody, it does not always necessarily mean that they have joint physical custody as well.

Child custody can be an overwhelming topic to address during an already emotionally-charged divorce proceeding involving the division of assets and/or spousal support, for example. However, if parents in Massachusetts can work together to create a mutually satisfactory parenting agreement, this may help them to maintain control in this type of legal proceeding. When dealing with who will get to keep the child, it is critical that the best interests of the child are given top priority.

Source:, "The Various Types of Child Custody", Accessed on April 1, 2017

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