Newburyport Child Custody Lawyer
Maintaining a strong parent-child relationship after divorce is an important goal for nearly all the parents with whom we work. In fact, research shows that children can thrive during and after a divorce when both of their parents are meaningfully involved in their lives. Massachusetts law recognizes the importance of promoting the rights, involvement, and interests of mothers and fathers when it comes to their children, even after the parents separate. When divorcing parents can’t agree on important child custody matters, the court will help determine what would be best for the children in the case.
At Turco Legal, PC, we represent both mothers and fathers in divorce proceedings and paternity actions. We understand the details of family law and use this knowledge to our clients’ benefit. Please contact us today to speak with a Newburyport child custody lawyer about how we can help you.
Understanding Child Custody
Child custody in Massachusetts has two dimensions. First there is legal custody, which is the power as a parent to make decisions for your children. Common examples include signing educational documents, consenting to medical care, and deciding which house of worship your child attends. Parents can share legal custody, or one parent can be given it solely.
The second dimension is physical custody, which refers to your child physically being with you. Like legal custody, a court may award parents shared physical custody. Alternatively, a court may award one parent sole physical custody.
The judge will make custody decisions based on what the judge believes is in your child’s best interest. This “best interests of the child” standard is the touchstone for nearly every legal decision affecting children in divorce. The judge’s assessment is holistic and aims to promote the child’s growth and well-being. Among others, the judge could consider the following factors:
- Which parent has taken care of the child up to this point;
- Each parent’s own well-being (physical and mental health);
- Who the child wants to live with, if the child is older and has a preference;
- The child’s relationship with siblings and extended family;
- How well the child has adjusted to the current living arrangement.
Impact of Domestic Violence on Child Custody
Most parents should receive considerable time with their children. However, if there has been a history of domestic violence or child abuse, the abusive parent might not receive shared custody. Instead, a judge might award sole legal and physical custody to the non-abusive parent and only allow the abusive parent to receive limited and / or supervised visitation.
If there has been abuse in the household, it would be a good idea to meet with a Newburyport child custody lawyer to assess your options, potential next steps, and ensure safety.
Avoiding a Child Custody Fight
Understandably, child custody can be an emotional issue. When parents have residual anger stemming from the marriage or divorce, they sometimes use the children as pawns. No one wins in this situation.
Sometimes, parents can work through their disagreements if they sit down and really listen to each other. One way parents can do this is through mediation. Working with a skilled mediator can empower parents to find new, creative ways to resolve a dispute. At Turco Legal, our Newburyport child custody attorneys have done just that. Acting as a mediator or as an attorney representing a client in mediation, we have used mediation to efficiently help parents reach voluntary agreements.
Nevertheless, custody litigation is sometimes unavoidable. In that case, it is important that we prepare as if we are going to trial, even if we ultimately reach an agreement prior to that point. We tirelessly work with our clients to build a case in support of our client’s custody goals. This includes ensuring that we have the evidence necessary to back up our position, as well as a powerful and persuasive argument.
The Importance of Temporary Custody
A judge will often make temporary custody orders during the divorce process. These orders last only until the completion of the divorce proceeding, when any temporary order is replaced by the final judgment.
Some clients overlook the importance of temporary custody orders. First, these orders might not be very temporary. Some contested divorces can last up to two years. And you may be living with a temporary order issued during that time for the pendency of the case. Second, the judge may decide to keep the status quo in the long-term, especially if a child is settling into a routine. So that “temporary” order can quickly turn into the final judgment. Accordingly, we always discuss temporary custody orders with our clients and advocate for an arrangement that works for them.
Our Newburyport Child Custody Lawyer Is Here to Help
Child custody disputes can be nuanced and challenging. When handled poorly, they can also negatively impact the parent-child relationship going forward. To avoid this possibility in your case, contact Turco Legal today at (978) 225-9030 and schedule a consultation with our law firm.