Boston Child Custody Lawyer
The Boston child custody lawyers at Turco Legal, PC understand that divorce is an emotional experience. Couples who are splitting up must resolve numerous legal issues and coming up with a custody plan should be high on the list. At our firm, we work closely with clients to understand what they want when it comes to custody and we use various techniques to help them accomplish their goals.
Child custody plans—also known as parenting plans—are as different as the men and women we represent. No “one size fits all” plan works for everyone. To improve the odds of getting the custody arrangement you desire, reach out to our firm today.
Legal & Physical Custody
Massachusetts divides custody into two categories: legal custody and physical custody. A parent with legal custody has the authority to make important decisions on behalf of the child. Among others, such decisions can include whether a child receives certain medical care, where the child goes to school, and what the child’s religious upbringing will be. A parent with physical custody can have physical possession of the child.
Parents can share legal custody, just as they can share physical custody. Alternatively, a judge could award one parent sole legal and / or sole physical custody.
Massachusetts prefers that both parents maintain a close relationship with their children and that they be as involved as possible in the lives of their children. There are many ways to achieve this goal, however. For that reason, parenting plans can vary.
A parenting plan lays out how the parents will divide custody. It will not only cover issues of legal custody but will also lay out a parenting schedule that indicates with which parent the child will be at any given time. Accordingly, the parenting plan can be a significant cause of child custody disputes.
To minimize future disagreement, a parenting plan should be sufficiently detailed to tell both parents what they need to do in any given situation. In addition to other issues, a parenting plan should:
- Identify child pick-up and drop-off procedures for parenting time;
- Explain what happens in terms of parenting time if the child is sick;
- Identify how parents will communicate with each other;
- Allocate special days, such as the child’s birthday, parental birthdays, and holidays.
As seasoned Boston child custody lawyers, we have helped draft many parenting plans and know what they should contain.
The Legal Standard: Child’s Best Interests
Parents can always come up with a parenting plan together. Often, this is the ideal approach because no one knows your schedule or life better than you do. When parents create their own plan, they often feel more invested in it.
Unfortunately, agreement isn’t always possible, even for couples who still get along. Instead, a judge might need to make custody determinations. In deciding how to divide custody, a judge will consider certain factors, such as:
- Your child’s age and needs;
- If your child prefers living with one parent over the other;
- Each parent’s physical and mental health;
- How well your child has adjusted to school;
- Which parent has provided most of the care up to this point;
- The importance of a stable living arrangement for the child;
- Any history of domestic violence, child abuse, or drug/alcohol addiction.
Ensuring a child’s happiness and healthy development is the court’s primary concern. No one factor listed above decides custody. However, if there has been violence, this factor weighs very negatively against the abusive parent.
Building Your Case for Custody
A judge wants to see tangible evidence that you can nurture your child’s well-being. A simple promise is rarely sufficient. Ideally, our clients will document their involvement in their children’s lives. For example, you should have witnesses or other evidence showing you spend time with your child, go to extracurricular activities, celebrate birthdays, etc.
Establishing a strong connection can be difficult for parents who work a lot, especially if they need to travel. Some of our clients have high-powered careers because they want to provide financially for their children. But when divorce rolls around, they haven’t developed the strongest bonds with their children. Contact a seasoned Boston child custody lawyer to discuss strategies for requesting child custody.
Speak with a Boston Child Custody Lawyer
No one should go into a custody dispute alone. Even if you and your spouse are on excellent terms, it’s helpful to discuss the legal issues with an experienced attorney at Turco Legal. Call us today at (617) 657-4878 to schedule a consultation.