Guiding You Through the Maze of Child Custody and Support
If you have children, custody and support will be two of the most important issues to be decided in your divorce. As a family law attorney serving clients in the Framingham area, Wellesley, Newton and the Metro West area of Massachusetts, I spend a great deal of time helping you understand what support and custody mean both in legal terms and what they mean in everyday life after divorce.
Legal and Physical Custody
There are two kinds of child custody in Massachusetts.
- Legal custody, which is the right to make major decisions regarding medical care, education and religious upbringing
- Physical custody, which is where the child primarily lives
In most cases, both parents will have joint or shared legal custody. Sole legal custody is rare, except in cases of abuse, drug addiction, or when there is either a restraining order or a breakdown in communication between the parents.
One parent will usually have primary physical custody. That parent could be the father or the mother. I have helped both mothers and fathers obtain primary residential custody of their children.
Sometimes parents share both legal and physical custody. This is where they share decision making and the child resides approximately 50% of the time with each parent.
If child custody is contested, the court will sometimes appoint a guardian ad litem to determine the best interests of the child. The parent who does not have primary custody will see the child according to a visitation schedule.
While both parents will jointly make major decisions, the parent with primary physical custody will make day-to-day decisions.
Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines
In Massachusetts, child support is determined by the income of both parents, the number of children you support and your child custody arrangement. If you earn more than $250,000, the court will look at a number of factors in addition to the guidelines to determine an appropriate amount of child support.
Free Lawyer Consultation
If you are dealing with a child custody or support issue, I offer a free initial consultation at my law office in Framingham. To schedule an appointment with me, attorney Eileen Agnes, call 508.879.9876 or fill out the contact form on this Web site.