Fedele and Murray, P.C.

17 Walpole Street, Norwood, MA 02062-3318 - (781) 551-5900

Custody

The typical custody arrangement in Massachusetts is joint legal custody to both parents with physical custody to one parent. Joint legal custody allows the non-custodial parent to be involved in major decisions regarding the child's life, including educational and medical decisions. Physical custody to one parent means that the children live with that parent and are under the day-to-day supervision of the custodial parent subject to reasonable visitation with the non-custodial parent. In making custody decisions, the rights of both parents are held to be equal, and the standard for determining which parent is to have sole physical custody is the best interest of the child. If custody is in dispute, the court generally appoints a Guardian Ad Litem to conduct an investigation and to report back to the court with recommendations as to which party should have custody. In an effort to educate parents about the effects of divorce on minor children, the Probate Court in Massachusetts has instituted a standing order that each party to a divorce with minor children must attend an approved Parent Education Program.

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