Armstrong Law, P.C.

How does child custody and visitation work?

One of perhaps the worst consequences of a divorce is that kids can get caught up in the middle of their parents' arguments. One of the decisions that many parents have to make is how to determine the custody arrangements when they split up with the children's other parent. Massachusetts family law judges generally award non-custodial parents visitation rights with their children.

There are two types of custody arrangements — physical and legal custody.

Any parent to whom the court awards legal custody can make significant decisions on behalf of their child. Either one or both parents can retain this custodial right over their kids. Any mom or dad that a judge awards legal custody can make decisions about their religious upbringing, medical care, education and other critical matters.

Physical custody has to do with where a child resides. Judges may appoint one or both parents as the child's custodian for this purpose.

Children subject to a sole physical custodial arrangement live at one parent's home while enjoying sleepovers and visitation with the other. Children alternate between their parent's homes if they share joint physical custody of their child.

The two primary types of visitation are unsupervised and supervised. Most non-custodial parents enjoy unsupervised visitation. Moms and dads can generally take their kids for outings or sleepovers during these periods. If a child is nursing or has special needs, then the court may place some limitations on their visitation.

A Lowell judge may award a parent who has a history of domestic violence or substance abuse supervised visitation. A mom or dad who is subject to this type of custody arrangement may only be able to see their child while being monitored by a social worker, therapist, a relative or another responsible adult.

Massachusetts judges often do what they can to ensure that a child spends equal time with each parent. There may be extenuating circumstances that don't make this possible, though. If you're looking to gain more visitation or custodial rights with your child, you should consult with a family law attorney. Your lawyer can help you build a case for why a Lowell judge should allow you to spend more time with your son or daughter.

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Armstrong Law, P.C.
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