Children Scooping Out Pumpkins

CHILD CUSTODY

Snook Law Office Child Custody Services

 

Our office provides the following child custody services:

 

Call Snook Law if you and your spouse or other parent are contesting custody in any form. If retained, we will explain your legal rights, options, and provide assistance in arriving at a satisfactory resolution or will undertake litigation if necessary.

 

Learn More About Contested Child Custody in Massachusetts

 

Initial Proceedings: Temporary Child Custody Orders

 

Child Custody Proceedings in Divorce

 

When a child custody lawyer initiates a divorce for their client, the court will generally issue a temporary order granting joint legal and physical custody of the spouse’s children.  There are exceptions, however. A judge will not grand temporary joint custody if it is not in the child’s best interests due to evidence that one party abuses drugs or alcohol or has a history of domestic abuse or violence, or the parties have shown an inability to communicate with each other in matters concerning the child.

 

It is important to note that regardless of the judge’s temporary order, there is no presumption that favors joint physical or legal custody in a final court decree.

 

Child Custody Proceedings for Unmarried Parents

 

If the parents were unmarried, the court will generally issue a temporary order awarding sole physical and legal custody to the mother until the court decides otherwise.

 

What is the Difference Between Physical and Legal Custody?

 

Physical Custody

Physical custody, sometimes called “placement”, refers to who the child is to reside with. Physical custody can be with both on equal terms, shared on a percentage basis (70%/30%), or with one party only.

Legal Custody

Legal Custody refers to decisions made by one or both parties regarding the child’s education, health care, religious education, and general welfare.

Custody can be awarded in the following manners:

  • Sole physical custody

  • Sole legal custody

  • Shared physical custody

  • Shared legal custody

 

If you have sole physical or legal custody, then you alone have the right to make daily and material decisions about the child’s welfare and needs. If you have shared physical custody, the arrangement may be equal parenting and living time at the parties’ respective homes, or one parent is the primary custodian with the other having liberal visitation rights. If joint physical custody is granted, it is usually with joint legal custody.

 

Parenting Plans

Whether the parties are able to decide on permanent physical and legal custody or not, they will have to submit a joint or separate parenting plan. The parenting plan includes:

 

  • The agreed or proposed primary custodian

  • A visitation schedule

  • How holidays, birthdays, vacations, and other special events will be handled

  • The manner in which the parties will make legal decisions regarding the child’s education, health care, religious education, and general welfare

  • How to resolve disputes

 

A child custody lawyer typically drafts the parenting plan according to the desires of their client. The court can accept or reject the joint or separate plans or order a different custody and visitation arrangement.

 

The judge has wide discretion in awarding custody to either party. The judge will generally weigh the following factors:

 

  • The emotional relationship between the child and parent

  • Each party’s level of education

  • Income level for each parent

  • Each of the parent's parenting skills, temperament, and character

  • Whether there are issues of alcohol and drug abuse, sexual assault, or violence

Alternative Dispute Resolution

In contested custody cases, the court offers alternative dispute resolution where a mediator attempts to work out a satisfactory resolution. There is also conciliation where the parties and their respective child custody lawyers meet to work out arrangements in lieu of litigation.

 

Limiting Visitation of Abusive Parents

 

A court can limit or deny visitation rights to the non-custodial parent if that person has exhibited abusive conduct toward the child. Even a single behavioral incident of serious injury or the threat of it, or of sexual assault, will cause a judge to deny visitation. Generally, the judge will also issue a protective order.

Restoring Visitation Rights

 

A child custody lawyer can help you restore visitation rights to parents who have been denied visitation. In bulk, the parent must participate and show progress in counseling and therapy. Limited or supervised visitation with a social worker or court officer at the home or a safe location is usually the first step before full and unaccompanied visitation is granted.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Snook Law Office Child Custody Services

 

Our office provides the following child custody services:

 

Call Snook Law if you and your spouse or other parent are contesting custody in any form. If retained, we will explain your legal rights, options, and provide assistance in arriving at a satisfactory resolution or will undertake litigation if necessary.

 

Learn More About Contested Child Custody in Massachusetts

 

Initial Proceedings: Temporary Child Custody Orders

 

Child Custody Proceedings in Divorce

 

When a child custody lawyer initiates a divorce for their client, the court will generally issue a temporary order granting joint legal and physical custody of the spouse’s children.  There are exceptions, however. A judge will not grand temporary joint custody if it is not in the child’s best interests due to evidence that one party abuses drugs or alcohol or has a history of domestic abuse or violence, or the parties have shown an inability to communicate with each other in matters concerning the child.

 

It is important to note that regardless of the judge’s temporary order, there is no presumption that favors joint physical or legal custody in a final court decree.

 

Child Custody Proceedings for Unmarried Parents

 

If the parents were unmarried, the court will generally issue a temporary order awarding sole physical and legal custody to the mother until the court decides otherwise.

 

What is the Difference Between Physical and Legal Custody?

 

Physical Custody

Physical custody, sometimes called “placement”, refers to who the child is to reside with. Physical custody can be with both on equal terms, shared on a percentage basis (70%/30%), or with one party only.

Legal Custody

Legal Custody refers to decisions made by one or both parties regarding the child’s education, health care, religious education, and general welfare.

Custody can be awarded in the following manners:

  • Sole physical custody

  • Sole legal custody

  • Shared physical custody

  • Shared legal custody

 

If you have sole physical or legal custody, then you alone have the right to make daily and material decisions about the child’s welfare and needs. If you have shared physical custody, the arrangement may be equal parenting and living time at the parties’ respective homes, or one parent is the primary custodian with the other having liberal visitation rights. If joint physical custody is granted, it is usually with joint legal custody.

 

Parenting Plans

Whether the parties are able to decide on permanent physical and legal custody or not, they will have to submit a joint or separate parenting plan. The parenting plan includes:

 

  • The agreed or proposed primary custodian

  • A visitation schedule

  • How holidays, birthdays, vacations, and other special events will be handled

  • The manner in which the parties will make legal decisions regarding the child’s education, health care, religious education, and general welfare

  • How to resolve disputes

 

A child custody lawyer typically drafts the parenting plan according to the desires of their client. The court can accept or reject the joint or separate plans or order a different custody and visitation arrangement.

 

The judge has wide discretion in awarding custody to either party. The judge will generally weigh the following factors:

 

  • The emotional relationship between the child and parent

  • Each party’s level of education

  • Income level for each parent

  • Each of the parent's parenting skills, temperament, and character

  • Whether there are issues of alcohol and drug abuse, sexual assault, or violence

Alternative Dispute Resolution

In contested custody cases, the court offers alternative dispute resolution where a mediator attempts to work out a satisfactory resolution. There is also conciliation where the parties and their respective child custody lawyers meet to work out arrangements in lieu of litigation.

 

Limiting Visitation of Abusive Parents

 

A court can limit or deny visitation rights to the non-custodial parent if that person has exhibited abusive conduct toward the child. Even a single behavioral incident of serious injury or the threat of it, or of sexual assault, will cause a judge to deny visitation. Generally, the judge will also issue a protective order.

Restoring Visitation Rights

 

A child custody lawyer can help you restore visitation rights to parents who have been denied visitation. In bulk, the parent must participate and show progress in counseling and therapy. Limited or supervised visitation with a social worker or court officer at the home or a safe location is usually the first step before full and unaccompanied visitation is granted.