Looking forward to welcoming a new baby is exciting for the mother and father to be. In Massachusetts and elsewhere, sometimes a child is born into a difficult situation that may involve addictions or family strife. If the circumstances potentially endanger the child, tough decisions may need be made that could include removing them from their biological parent or parents and granting child custody to another capable family member.
Divorce can be complicated, especially when a child is involved. If nothing else can be agreed upon between the separating couple, one thing should be settled: do what is best for the child. Traditionally, child custody was awarded to the mother full time, while the father shared part-time responsibility. However, many modern-day families, including those in Massachusetts, are choosing different custody options after divorce in order to bring more stability to the child.
As many are already aware, having two loving, attentive and involved parents is the ideal situation for every child. Barring extreme circumstances such as abuse, this is why an increasing number of advocates across the nation are pushing for a presumption of equally shared child custody from the beginning unless a reason is shown why this should not be the case. Unfortunately, a number of states, Massachusetts included, still have some catching up to do.
In 2017, over 20 states -- Massachusetts among them -- considered legislation to encourage or even presume shared parenting from the get-go in divorce. This more equal approach to child custody would be legally presumed even when parents didn't agree, though of course would not apply in cases of abuse. Despite the predictable criticism that faces almost any proposed law, the legal trend toward collaborative parenting and shared custody seems only to be accelerating on a nationwide level.
Much of the time, the biggest concern for most divorcing parents is their children. Unfortunately, sometimes custody battles don't always work out as planned, and for whatever reason, one parent may not end up with the Massachusetts child custody arrangement he or she had hoped for. When this happens, it can be upsetting, heart-wrenching and agonizing.
For most divorcing Massachusetts parents, the issue that tends to be first and foremost on their minds is the children. One concern is how the divorce might affect them, but other issues involve who will have parenting time with the kids, and how often? Regardless of which child custody options are on the table -- true joint custody, joint custody with one parent given primary physical custody, or sole custody -- there are a lot of issues to consider.
When it comes to the end of a marriage, the number one concern of most Massachusetts parents is how their children will handle the divorce. No matter how amicable the situation may be, parents worry about how issues like child custody and new living arrangements may affect their kids. The good news is that, with some conscious effort, there are ways to minimize the negative effects and focus instead on working toward a future that's healthier and more stable for everyone involved.
The end of a marriage can be a stressful and daunting period for everyone involved. However, kids may have more difficulty dealing with the news of divorce, and parents might wish to shield them from unnecessary suffering, but they could be uncertain how to achieve this goal. Along with pursuing a child custody agreement with their needs in mind, parents in Massachusetts may also find it beneficial to consider how the situation might be affecting their kids, and take steps to help them through it.
Despite the great strides that have been made towards gender equality in parenting, the fact remains that, over 80 percent of the time, mothers are awarded full physical custody in court ordered cases. A large reason for this seems to be the decades-long belief that conflict between divorced parents places too much stress on children. However, recent studies have demonstrated again and again that joint child custody with near-equal parenting time is far and away the best option in most situations.
Most of the time, a Massachusetts custody battle "victory" has no real winners. While every divorce is different, an increasing number of family courts across the country are realizing that, when it comes to child custody, shared parenting is often the best for everyone involved. Of course, there are exceptions, such as cases involving domestic violence or abuse where joint custody isn't an option as a matter of safety, but otherwise, shared parenting offers clear benefits for all parties.