When two parents in Massachusetts get divorced, their divorce decree will spell out which parent will get to keep their shared children. It will also detail how visitation will work. Two types of custody that are important to take into consideration when working out a child custody arrangement during divorce are legal custody and physical custody.
Physical custody is typically given to the parent with whom the children will live the majority of the time. However, even in this situation, the custodial parent usually shares legal custody with the non-custodial parent. Legal custody gives a parent the right to make important decisions regarding the children’s health care, education and religion, among other issues.
For some families, the parents have joint custody of the children. This means the children spend about the same quantity of time with both parties. The benefit of this type of custody arrangement is that it decreases the feeling of losing a parent that often accompanies divorce. However, some believe that it is better for the children to have a single home base, with the other parent simply taking part in liberal visitation.
Joint custody in particular requires a great deal of cooperation between both parties. As a result, courts in Massachusetts and elsewhere usually are not quick to order joint custody unless the two parents can show that they can effectively make decisions together. During a divorce proceeding, it is within one’s rights to pursue a child custody arrangement that is personally satisfactory but, more important, in the best interests of the children involved in the divorce.
Source: findlaw.com, “Child Custody Basics,” Oct. 24, 2017