A child custody schedule in Massachusetts is determined by the “best interests of the child” standard. While there is no set standard for what is in the best interests of a child since every case is different, several factors will weigh into the court’s consideration when determining the best custody schedule for your child.
Choosing a Custody Schedule in Massachusetts
Whether you leave your custody schedule up to the court or come to an agreement with your ex-spouse on your own, your custody schedule should meet the “best interests of the child” standard. This means that your plan provides an appropriate amount of time with each parent and benefits your child emotionally, physically, and financially.
In general, Massachusetts courts presume that a custody schedule that involves both parents is best for the child. Only under special circumstances will the court order one parent to have sole physical custody of their child.
Child Custody Factor #1: Needs of the Child
When evaluating your custody schedule, the court will look at the needs of each of your children. They’ll ask specific questions about topics such as:
- The child’s physical or mental health needs
- The child’s involvement in the community, school, and extracurricular activities
- The child’s existing routine and how it may be preserved
- Relationships among the child and other family members
- Other relevant factors
The court will also consider a child’s preference if they are old enough.
Child Custody Factor #2: Parental Abilities
How well can you and your ex-spouse, respectively, take care of your children? This is something that will play into the court’s decision when determining the best custody schedule for your child.
For example, the court will consider:
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- Current relationship between the parents—is it constructive, and will the other parent encourage a relationship between their ex and their child?
- The couple’s past as caretakers or involved parents
- Home environment of each parent
- The parent’s work schedule or other commitments
Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Custody Schedule
There are a couple of other factors you should consider when determining a custody schedule in Massachusetts. As stated above, the most important thing is what best serves your child’s interests.
Here are some other issues you might consider to ensure your custody schedule is best for your child:
- The ages of your children. School-age and older children are usually more comfortable with separation from their parents thanks to school and extracurricular activities. Younger children may not be able to handle longer separations from each parent.
- Your ex-spouse’s history of responsible parenting. If your ex is always late or unreliable, you’ll likely want to take this into consideration if your children need to attend events or school functions during certain times of the year.
- Logistical information. Consider how far each parent lives from the children’s school, extracurricular activities, and each other. You should also be aware of each parent’s work schedules and commitments.
Call on a Family Lawyer in Massachusetts to Help with Your Custody Schedule
It’s important to remember that custody schedules can change, and you’ll need time to determine which one works best for you. If you need help working out a custody schedule in Massachusetts, the family lawyers of Koiles Pratt Family Law Group can help. To begin, give us a call at 978-744-7774.