Divorce is a stressful change in the family dynamic, and no family member feels the upheaval more than a child. When children are involved in a divorce, you as a parent want what’s best for them. You also want to maximize the amount of quality time you spend with your child(ren). At Karpenski & Schmelkin, we’ll answer all of your questions about custody during the divorce process, maximize your time with your children and help you navigate any conflicts that may arise with your partner over custody issues.

There are two types of child custody recognized by Massachusetts courts: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the parent the child will live with on a regular basis, sometimes referred to as “primary custody”, while legal custody refers to the parent who has the authority to make decisions concerning the child’s moral upbringing, schooling, healthcare and religion. Most divorces result in joint legal custody. Physical custody means that a child lives with one parent, subject to reasonable parenting time by the other parent, unless the court decides that such parenting time would not be in the best interest of the child.

Child Custody“Shared physical custody” means that a child has periods of living with each parent so that the child has frequent and continued contact with both parents. Parents can often work out custody arrangements together but if they cannot, and custody must be determined by a court, there are several factors a judge takes into consideration in making the decision. These factors include each parent’s involvement with the child, the competence of each parent to provide basic necessities and care for the child, any history of abuse and much more. The relationship the child has with each parent and any siblings may also be used in determining custody agreements, as can the lifestyle of each parent.

Post-Divorce Changes In Custody

A Custody arrangement is important not only for your child, but for you as well. While a custody order is legally binding, certain factors may cause a child custody agreement to change, for example as the child gets older, gets involved in different activities, and when a parent’s lifestyle changes. If a parent remarries, moves, develops an illness or is no longer able to adequately care for a child, this too may warrant a change in the custody agreement. In such cases you can trust the team at Karpenski & Schmelkin to reassess your parenting situation and help you navigate changes.

Consulting with a knowledgeable family law attorney can help reduce the stress level you and your children are experiencing during an uncertain time. Attorneys Ann Karpenski and Marc Schmelkin bring years of legal experience in domestic relations to each case and treat each client and their needs individually. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can advocate for you and your children.