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Joint child custody unless the other parent is unfit

Once couples make the decision to divorce, they must get used to having a one-income household and figure out who will get custody of the children. This is usually a tough situation since Massachusetts parents are possibly faced with losing time with their children. Joint child custody allows both parents to be actively involved with the child and the decision-making.

During and sometimes after divorce, parents tend to bash each other so they can get full custody. However, the court’s decision is based on the best interest of the child, which is often joint custody. Under joint custody, both parents can make decisions for the child, particularly when it has to do with school activities and religious practices. In certain situations, joint custody may not be the best option for parents. These circumstances arise when one parent is unavailable due to work hours or their lifestyle.

Abuse and domestic violence are other reasons why parents would not get joint custody. There are also risks that are looked at such as parenting style and change in the family’s standard of living. Other risks are the impact of child custody and conflict between parents.

Most of the time, judges believe that the best situation for children is to have shared time with both parents. However, if one of the parents is proved to be unfit or the environment is unsafe, then joint child custody is not an option. Courtroom litigation can be a frustrating and exhausting process, which is why a number of Massachusetts parents choose to resolve their issues in front of a third-party mediator.

Source:, “Joint Child Custody and Co-Parenting after Divorce“, Nov. 1, 2014


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