Child Custody & Visitation
Child custody is often the most difficult and contentious part of a divorce or separation. In Massachusetts, parents are encouraged to come to a custody agreement on their own. If they cannot agree, a judge will decide child custody and visitation issues according to what it believes to be in the best interest of the child. However, it is easier on everyone, especially children, when parents can reach an agreement, that they are both comfortable with, on their own without the intervention of the Court.
As a parent herself, Attorney Karen D. Lane understands the importance of putting the best interest of children first. However, when emotions are running high, it can be difficult for parents to put their own feelings aside in order to weigh their various options in a rational and practical fashion. This is where an experienced family law attorney can help. Attorney Karen Lane will take into account your unique family situation to help you reach a fair and reasonable resolution of child custody issues that all parties can be comfortable with while ensuring the best interest of your children.
Child Custody Attorney Karen Lane’s office is based in the Natick/Framingham area and represents clients throughout metro suburban Boston in Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Worcester, and Essex counties. If you are facing child custody issues, or need to modify a custody agreement, please call Attorney Karen Lane at 508-655-5513 or contact her online today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Click the topics below for additional details about Attorney Karen Lane’s specific areas of practice related to child custody and visitation.
Legal custody gives you legal decision-making power over your child's life. One or both parents may be granted the right and responsibility of making important life decisions for their child or children, such as decisions relating to education, health, and religion. Sole legal custody means that only one parent has the right to make these decisions. Shared joint legal custody means that both parents must be involved. Of course, either parent can make medical decisions for the child in an emergency, even when there is sole legal custody with the other parent.
Physical custody determines with whom the child will actually live. If sole physical custody is granted, the non-custodial parent will usually be granted visitation time and be ordered to pay child support. In shared physical custody, the child spends a significant amount of time with each parent, but one parent may still be ordered to pay support.
In Massachusetts, most Probate and Family Court judges now believe, except in cases of abuse toward the other parent or children, that it is in the best interest of most children that both parents have joint legal custody, while one parent has physical custody, especially in the case of young children.
One parent having physical custody of a child does not mean that the other parent will not or should not have the opportunity to parent their child. Parenting by both parents is encouraged by the Courts. Attorney Karen Lane can help parents develop equitable and reasonable visitation plans that are fair to the non-custodial parent but remains in the best interest of their child or children.
It is mandatory in Massachusetts that parents attend an approved parent education program when getting a divorce if there are minor children involved. You only have 60 days from the date that the divorce papers are served to register for the program. Both parents must complete the program and submit a certificate of attendance before a pre-trial conference, trial, or uncontested divorce hearing can take place. Only under certain, rare circumstances can the program be waived.
Parents who can come to an agreement on custody need to file a joint parenting plan for the court’s approval. The court will usually approve this plan unless it believes it is not in the child's best interest.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on custody, you must submit your own proposed parenting plan for the court's consideration. It is very important that your proposed parenting plan encompasses all of the necessary parenting issues and reflects the best interest of the child.
Family Law attorney Karen D. Lane’s office is located in the town of Sherborn, which is centrally located in Middlesex County, 3.3 miles directly south of the Mass Pike, on the Natick/Framingham town lines. She represents clients throughout metro-suburban Boston in Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Worcester, and Essex counties. Please call Attorney Karen D. Lane at 508-655-5513 or contact her online today to schedule your free initial consultation about legal and physicial child custody; visitation; child support; and parenting plans that are in the best interest of your child, your family and YOU!