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I provide experienced legal guidance in family law, divorce and special education law. I represent parents and families throughout western Massachusetts.

Joint custody desirable for Massachusetts child custody

No two parents wish for their children to feel that they have to "choose" between their parents. The face of the average family is different from years past with parents living in different households and blended families becoming more and more common. This is proof that successful parenting can be done from two separate households. This is good news for parents involved in, or thinking of going through, a change in their child custody arrangement.

Joint custody is a phrase tossed around quite often when discussing child custody options. But, what does it mean?

Joint custody is defined as equal legal custody and physical custody rights. This means that the child's important decisions, like religion, schooling, etc, as well as their time spent with each parent is determined equally split by both parents and time is spent as equally as possible in terms of living arrangements. Essentially, both parents have a hand in raising the children and making decisions for them.

This child custody arrangement is desirable, if and only if, it is in children's best interests to do so. Joint custody is not for everyone, though. If a parent is unable to meet certain parental standards or if there is a history of abuse or neglect, it is unlikely that joint custody is the best child custody arrangement for your family. This type of custody arrangement takes a lot of communication between parents. Because of this, it can be difficult for some parents to properly execute a joint custody arrangement.

All of this should be taken into consideration when determining a child custody arrangement for your family. Specific factors, such as a special needs child or the needs of an older child, in comparison to a younger child, can help to determine the best custody arrangement. Whether a child custody arrangement is due to a divorce can affect how the decree will play out. Remember, the best interests of the child are always put first.

Source: Family.FindLaw.com, "Joint Custody," accessed on June 20, 2016

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