Straight Talk and Honest Answers About Child Custody

You love your kids unconditionally. It does not matter whether you are divorcing or were never married to your children's other parent — you want to be there to see your kids grow up, and you want them to be happy.

When parents divorce or break up, however, it is all too common for them to let their animosity or simple indifference toward one another get in the way of what is right for their kids. Most people agree that children benefit from having strong relationships with both parents, but making that happen can be a real challenge.

At Aitken, Chacharone & Power, we help parents in and around Worcester set up child custody and visitation arrangements that promote the best interests of the children involved. Give us a call at 508-859-1775 or email us to set up an appointment. One of our experienced attorneys will be happy to help.

Workable Child Custody and Visitation Arrangements Now and in the Future

Whether part of a divorce or upon determination of legal parentage, a child custody ruling is a court order. Parents who do not follow it can be held in contempt of court, so it is critical to negotiate a workable schedule the first time.

Under Massachusetts law, both parents are equally eligible for custody, absent certain serious misconduct. The law also explicitly encourages custody and visitation arrangements that promote frequent, continued contact with both parents. Finally, the law places one consideration above all others: Your custody and visitation arrangements must be in your children's best interest.

Massachusetts law recognizes two types of custody — legal and physical:

  • Legal custody refers to your right and responsibility to make decisions in a child's life about important issues such as education, medical treatment, religious instruction and moral development.
  • Physical custody refers to the time your child is living with you or is physically in your care. This is often called "visitation" when one parent is given more time with the child than the other.

Each parent is allocated the amount of legal and physical custody that promotes the children's best interest. In most cases, parents will share both legal and physical custody, and most parents negotiate their arrangements for sharing physical custody in advance.

Your lawyer from Aitken, Chacharone & Power will explain the factors that need to be taken into account when negotiating parenting orders like these. We will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and work hard to obtain the arrangement that works best for you and your kids.

As time passes, you may find that your original child custody and visitation arrangements are no longer working. One parent may need to move to another state. A child's treasured activity might interfere with the original schedule. Events in the other parent's life may put the children's welfare at risk. The other parent may refuse to follow the order. Never renegotiate your child custody arrangements casually — these are court orders and must be modified by the court.

Call Us Today to Discuss Your Child Custody Questions

We invite you to call Aitken, Chacharone & Power at 508-859-1775, or email us to set up a meeting.