When two parents decide to divorce or separate, generally they need to come to some sort of agreement on how their time is going to be divided between their children, also referred to as a custody arrangement. While parents are encouraged to work together and create a custody arrangement of their own, it must be reviewed by a judge to ensure it is in the best interest of the child. The State of Massachusetts recognizes four types of custody arrangements and we are explaining what these are below.
The four types of custody arrangements are:
- Sole Legal Custody — When a parent is awarded sole legal custody, they have the “right and responsibility to make major decisions regarding the child, including decisions about education, medical care, religion, and emotional development.” Only one parent can be awarded sole legal custody.
- Shared Legal Custody — Unlike sole legal custody, shared legal custody means that both parents are permitted to be involved in their child’s life and are “responsible for making major decisions regarding the child, including matters of education, medical care, and emotional, moral, and religious development.”
- Sole Physical Custody — “This means that a child lives with one parent and is subject to reasonable parenting time by the other parent.” However, if the court decides that spending that time with the other parent wouldn’t be in the best interest of the child, they may not permit them to do so.
- Shared Physical Custody — If this custody arrangement is chosen, it means “a child has periods of living with each parent, so the child has frequent, continuous contact with both parents.”
Some of the things the State of Massachusetts believes are important to be aware of when determining child custody arrangements include:
- Children tend to do best when “both parents have a stable and meaningful involvement in their children’s life.”
- “Each parent has different and valuable contributions to make their children’s development.”
- It is important for children to have a “structured routine time as well as unstructured time with each parent.”
- “Communication and cooperation between parents are important in arranging children’s activities.” You will want to consider having consistent rules and values in both households which helps to “create a sense of security for children of any age.”
- Your parenting plan may need to be adjusted as time goes on to accommodate a family member’s needs, schedules, and circumstances as they change.
Now, if you are finding that you can’t come to an agreement on a child custody arrangement and would like a Rockville, MD family law attorney to step in and help, the lawyers at Barkley & Kennedy are more than capable of helping you with this and much more. Our attorneys have extensive experience in handling child custody cases and can address any questions or concerns you may have. Going through a divorce or separation is one obstacle to overcome but having to agree to a child custody arrangement is yet another so why not have all the help and support you can get right now.
So, if you are ready to schedule a consultation so that we can discuss your family-related matter in depth, call us today at 301-251-6600.
You can reach Barkley & Kennedy at:
51 Monroe Street, #1407
Rockville, MD 20850