Shared custody

Establishing paternity for unmarried parents

A parent in Massachusetts might want to establish paternity for several reasons. It is important to note that parents have the same legal obligations and rights whether or not they are married. For example, both parents have the right to shared custody or visitation with their children. The parent that has primary physical custody of a child also has the right to receive financial support for the child. Likewise, the parent who does not have primary physical custody has the legal obligation to provide financial and medical support for his or her child. A blood test, known as genetic marker testing, can establish paternity. A father can challenge a paternity claim by submitting to a DNA test. Similarly, a mother can petition the court to compel a father to submit to a paternity test. The mother may use the results of the paternity test as evidence in court in order to obtain an order for her to receive financial provisions for the child including day care, medical insurance and child support. A father can also set up a test to establish paternity and then assert his right to visitation or shared custody. Once it has been established through DNA testing that an individual is a child’s father, the father can then file a petition in court seeking either shared custody or visitation. A married father who does not believe that the child he is raising is his may have limited legal options. In a case such as this, it may

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Fathers’ rights and shared custody

Massachusetts fathers who are going through a divorce may have the mistaken belief that courts favor women in making custody decisions. While this may have been true in the past, the law specifically prohibits courts from assigning custody to one parent over the other based on the parent’s gender. Instead, courts are to put the child’s best interests first and they consider a number of relevant factors in making the custody orders. Courts generally favor shared custody situations. There are two types of shared custody in Massachusetts. The first is called shared legal custody. When fathers are granted shared legal custody with their child’s mother, both the father and the mother participate in all major decisions involving the child. The mother and father must confer and make decisions together regarding educational, religious, medical and other major decisions for their child. The other type of shared custody is shared physical custody. With shared physical custody, the father and mother will share residential custody of the child. The child will go between the two parent’s homes on a set schedule either agreed upon by the parents or established by the court. Parents will share holidays, summers and breaks as well. Shared custody protects the child’s ability to continue developing strong, ongoing relationships with both parents. The court is to always keep the child’s best interests at the forefront when deciding custody disputes. If the parents are able to reach an agreement concerning a shared parenting schedule, courts will generally grant it. Otherwise,

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How paternity is established in Massachusetts

Residents of Massachusetts may establish paternity with the court by filing with the court, the city clerk or the registrar of vital records. If the documentation is passed through a clerk or registrar, these entities are responsible for sending it to the state juvenile court. The court may also collect personal information about the parents and child. The information that the court or registrar may request include the names, Social Security numbers, ages, dates of birth and addresses of the mother, father and child. If paternity is not voluntarily established with the court, any party may seek to make such a registration. Establishment of paternity with the court is necessary in order to maintain fathers’ rights. The court must have proof of paternity in order to assign visitation rights and shared custody of a child. In order to enforce the obligations and rights related to paternity, the court may order proof of paternity. Such proof may be requested in order to confer custody rights as well as shared custody and visitation rights for the father and paternal grandparents. Paternity claims may be proven or disproved by way of paternity tests such as DNA testing. Once paternity is established by the court, additional actions such as orders for child support may commence in family court. Establishment of paternity provides a father with rights to access with a child. If either parent desires to establish or challenge paternity claims, this must be done through juvenile court. An attorney may be able to

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School schedules could affect shared custody in Massachusetts

For some Massachusetts parents, back-to-school time can mean searching for new school supplies and ensuring that their children wake up on time. For divorced parents, the new school year can mean reworking schedules and ensuring that shared custody agreements are still being upheld. This time can be a stressful one for parents, but it can also lead to children feeling strained if their parents lack consistency. When children must go to two different homes in order to spend time with their parents, a school schedule can sometimes make the situation more confusing, especially if a child rides the bus. If parents are unable to keep a consistent schedule for when a child goes to one house or the other, that child could be confused as to what bus to ride on what day. By keeping up a clear schedule, children and parents may have a less stressful situation. It is also important for parents to continue to have similar rules that apply to both households. Enforcing the same bedtime in both homes can be especially important when school starts back. If a child is allowed to stay up later at one house than the other, their sleep schedule and productivity at school could potentially be affected. Therefore, parents may need to ensure that they remain on the same page about certain routines. Shared custody issues do not have to constantly cause arguments, but maintaining workable schedules when transitioning from summer break to school schedules can put a strain on the

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Shared custody could be an option for Massachusetts parents

For some Massachusetts parents, the idea of gaining custody in the event of a divorce could be one of their goals. However, it is important to examine the situation and understand what a difficult custody fight could put the parents and children through. By being more knowledgeable about what child custody proceedings entail, some parents may be better apt to decide whether shared custody could be right for their situation. As with all custody proceedings, the well-being of the children should be the top priority. While some parents may believe that fighting for sole custody could be in the best interests of the children, they may want to ask themselves if their children are ready to go through the legal process. Children may be interviewed by professionals during the custody process in order for those professionals to gain an idea about the living situation. This could potentially put children in stressful and otherwise uncomfortable positions. By allowing a third party to make the decisions regarding custody, parents must be ready to contend with the arrangements that a judge may consider adequate for the situation. This could potentially lead to both parties feeling unhappy about the arrangements. However, if parents are able to work together, they may be able to come to agreeable terms regarding the custody and visitation of their children. It is true that shared custody may not be a feasible option for all situations. Therefore, parents should take the time to consider their circumstances and how the impact

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Massachusetts kids could handle shared custody well

Learning that their parents are going to divorce can have a great impact on Massachusetts children. They may have many different questions about the circumstances and be uncertain as to what it means for their living situation, especially if parents have shared custody. Child custody proceedings can, at times, be difficult for children and parents alike, and it is important that the situation is handled with sensitivity in order to ensure that the best interests of the children are being considered. One way that parents may know that their children could be handling the custody conditions well is if they want to know more about the situation. Asking questions and looking for answers about the event could mean that the children want to understand the circumstances. By having a better understanding of the situation, children may be more comfortable than if they are left out of what the proceedings mean for them. Observing a child’s behavior can also be a way to determine how that child is handling the process. If a child becomes spiteful or otherwise acts as if he or she does not want to be around one or both parents, it could mean that the child is not handling the situation well. However, if a child continues to act normally and still enjoys time with both parents, he or she may be handling the divorce in a mature and positive manner. The majority of Massachusetts parents want their children to be affected as little as possible when

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Massachusetts fathers may wish to seek shared custody

It is an unfortunate situation when children become tools for parents to use against each other when they are going through divorce. When this occurs, the children are more likely to be negatively affected than the other parent. Therefore, seeking shared custody of children may be the most beneficial route. However, Massachusetts parents must be willing to work together. When parties go through divorce, it is not uncommon for there to be some anger involved initially. If a parent wishes to use that resentment in order to attempt to hurt the other parent during child custody proceedings, they may try to gain more custody or even sole custody of their children. Working together as parents even after a divorce can potentially be beneficial for the children involved, and in that case, both parents would need to encourage a healthy relationship with the other parent. In order to effectively co-parent, each party must also be willing to do their share as a parent. Custody agreements are drawn up in order for each parent to understand what is expected of them after the divorce and custody proceedings are concluded. If a parent does not make the effort to follow those agreements, children may end up with a stronger relationship with one parent over the other. Shared custody may not be the right choice for everyone, but as many parents want to remain a part of their children’s lives, working together after divorce may be the best route for some. Co-parenting may be

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Shared custody may be best for Massachusetts children

In decades past, child custody after divorce has almost always been the same. One parent is awarded physical custody of any children involved, and the other receives visitation. A new bill in Massachusetts seeks to sweep the old model of custody rights away in lieu of a more equitable shared custody plan. The goal of this bill is simple — allow children to have time with both parents. Authorities on the subject have asserted that, providing there are no extenuating circumstances, children deserve to see both of their parents on as regular a basis as possible. This recommendation was birthed from over two-and-a-half years of research. Additionally, Massachusetts parents going through an otherwise amicable divorce might be able to avoid conflict over fighting for child custody if it is a given that both parties will be able to see and spend time with their children. When the courts typically default to the principal parent, it can create animosity and strife between a divorcing couple. Instead, this bill would push for divorced parents to work together on determining a child custody plan that will benefit everyone involved, especially the children. Ultimately, barring circumstances such as domestic violence, it can benefit the children of divorced parents to be permitted to see both of their parents equitably. If a parent is unable to follow through with the commitment that they agreed to, courts would likely intervene to adjust the arrangement. Otherwise, parents working through a divorce can avoid any further conflict by agreeing

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