Massachusetts Child Custody Attorney
Child Custody & Parenting Plans in Massachusetts
Miller Law Group, P.C. is here to protect your best interests while also acting in the best interests of your children. Child custody—or parenting plans, as they are often called—should be a hot-button issue in many divorce cases. Our Massachusetts child custody attorneys know how to best handle these delicate situations by striking a balance between aggressive representation and maintaining sensitivity to the children involved. All of our clients not only get representation from a skilled child custody lawyer, but they also gain the support and intellectual capital of our legal brain trust—an entire group of family law attorneys. Our team includes a group of the region’s premier family lawyers who have handled hundreds of child custody cases throughout Massachusetts.
At Miller Law Group, our legal team has nearly 100 years of combined experience. If you are facing a child custody or parenting plan issue, contact Miller Law Group for a free case review to discuss representation.
Who Gets the Children in a Divorce?
If you are asking this you should first avoid thinking of divorce and child custody proceedings as contests to be won. Determining custody and parenting time is a sensitive process designed to protect the interests of the children. Judges consider what would be in the best interests of the child when making their decisions, which means they will consider factors such as the following:
- Which parent is more involved in the day-to-day
- The age of the children
- Where each parent lives, if not together
- How stable each parent and household is
- What the child wants, if age-appropriate
Preparation Is Key
In any family law case, and particularly in custody cases, preparation is key. If you are not prepared, the custody case may not go well for you. By retaining Miller Law Group, you get the support of an entire group of attorneys, paralegals, and professional staff with nearly 100 years of collective experience. You won’t ever be left in the dark or be underprepared for the case that you're facing.
Things you can do to be prepared:
- Gather income tax returns, bank statements, and other financial records.
- Prepare the financial statement. This is perhaps the single most important document!
- Complete the child support guidelines worksheet.
Why Are You Seeking Custody?
Family court judges are discerning enough to determine whether you are seeking custody simply as a way to get child support or for some other reason than wanting to spend time with and take care of your children. If you appear to be more concerned about what you can get out of the situation and less about spending time with your children, the court will likely notice that. It won’t go well from there.
Visitation vs. Parenting Plan
Even if you're not granted custody, non-custodial spouses may ask for visitation; however, it is important to avoid calling it that. Judges know a good parent does not just want to visit. A good parent wants to spend time with his or her children. That is why you should call it parenting time as part of the parenting plan. When working out a parenting plan, the primary concern should be the best interests of the children. Be reasonable. Be open to concerns. In many cases, both parents love their children and want to spend time with them. Don’t treat a custody case as a contest, but rather, as a process of deciding what arrangement most benefits your children.
Types of Child Custody
- Legal Custody - This type of custody allows one or both parents to provide input regarding how the child is raised.
- Physical Custody - This type of custody concerns the child’s residence and which parent the child will primarily live with.
- Joint Custody - This term describes custody agreements in which both parents share custody, although not always equally.
- Sole Custody - This means only one parent has been designated the primary parent with physical custody, legal custody or both. Even if one parent is granted sole custody, the court might also agree to a visitation agreement.
Child Custody Modifications in Massachusetts
Child custody must be proportionate to the family’s needs. That means if circumstances change, so too should the custody order. If you or your child has experienced a substantial change in circumstances, you may be able to petition for a child custody modification.
How Divorce Affects Children: Understanding Your Child's Behavior
Divorce, whether contentious or amicable, will affect the children in some way. If you are going through a divorce, it is vital to consider your children’s emotional well-being and attempt to insulate them from potential pain and hardship as much as possible.
Here are some ways children may respond to divorce:
- Acting Out - Divorce can make children angry, upset and hurt. Children who see their parents fighting may feel abandoned by either parent, or they may think the divorce is their fault in some way. Children whose parents are going through divorce or recently divorced may act out in different ways that can include getting into fights, performing poorly in school and more.
- Rebelling Against One or Both Parents - Children might do this as a way to punish their parents for making a decision that is unfavorable in their eyes. They might also rebel against one parent in particular, especially if parental alienation is an issue.
- Becoming Withdrawn - Instead of acting out, some children may become withdrawn. The reasons can be the same, but the way children express these feelings can be different. Divorce doesn’t have to have a negative effect on your children. Consider some of our tips to help protect your children during the divorce process so changes brought about by divorce does not negatively impact your children. Putting your children’s best interests first can help them adjust to these changes in their day-to-day lives.
- Sense of Relief - Your children actually may feel relieved, especially if a huge source of tension in their home has been dissolved. When mom and dad no longer live together, the separation can create a more peaceful home environment for children to thrive.
- Sense of Individualism - When children witness a divorce in which parents become happier individuals, this can promote a sense of individualism and independence. Seeing parents independently happy can encourage the children to be happy too.
- Enjoying More One-On-One Time - Parenting plans can have the positive effect of giving children more one-on-one time with each parent, which might not have been as accessible when parents were living together.
If you are divorcing and have children, we invite you to contact the Miller Law Group today. Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of family law and can help you work out a parenting plan that protects the best interests of your children. Call now.
Contact Miller Law Group, P.C. today for a free case evaluation.