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How Do Judges Decide Child Custody in Massachusetts?

Are you facing a contested child custody case in Massachusetts? Learn what factors the judges consider when deciding which parent gets legal and physical custody of the children.

Family Court judges have a lot of discretion in deciding which parent gets child custody. Facing an impending custody battle can be scary for parents. The lack of cut-and-dry rules for determining custody can evoke feelings of anxiety and uncertainty, but with an experienced child custody attorney in your corner, you can face your case with confidence knowing they will pursue the best possible outcome.

The lack of rigid rules for determining child custody can actually act in your favor, as your attorney will have more room to make arguments in your favor. When deciding child custody, the ultimate standard for the courts is the best interests of the child.

When determining what custody arrangement or parenting plan is in the best interests of the child, family court judges might consider:

  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • Each parent’s stability (job, house, etc.)
  • Each parent’s involvement in the daily lives of their children
  • Any history of criminal activity, neglect, or substance abuse in either parent’s past
  • The wishes of the children (although judges don’t automatically let children decide custody)

While judges might consider a child’s wishes when determining custody, there are many reasons why this cannot be the deciding factor in a custody case. For example, we have seen the following:

  • Children want to choose one parent simply because that parent has incentivized them (ex: “You won’t have a curfew if you live with me!”)
  • Children want to choose one parent over the other because they feel as if one parent needs them more than the other does.
  • Children want to live with the parent that has (or they perceive as having) more money or a more ideal lifestyle.

No two custody cases are the same. If you are looking for a customized legal solution to secure the best possible outcome for both you and your children, contact Miller Law Group, P.C. today for a free legal evaluation. We represent individuals throughout Massachusetts.

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