Child Custody Laws Massachusetts

Written by Lori Covington
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When you are researching child custody laws, Massachusetts statutes are complicated. When you are also worried about the impact of your divorce on your children, they can be overwhelming. The State of Massachusetts sets the laws out clearly, but they are complicated, and require interpretation by specialists (such as lawyers or mediators) to make sure you understand what will be expected of you as a parent after divorce.

There are eight general goals of the child support legal process, which focus on the financial and logistical impact of the divorce on children and their parents. In its child custody laws, Massachusetts recognizes that both parents are responsible for supporting the child economically,and that children shouldn't be financially impoverished regardless of which parent has primary custody. The laws also recognize that in the past, custodial parents (usually the mothers) have been left substantially worse off after divorce partly due to the impact of child custody laws. Massachusetts attempts to preserve the children's and lower-earning parents' standard of living. In child custody laws, Massachusetts also takes into account non-financial contributions of parents, including issues surrounding visitation and shared custody agreements.

Meeting the Requirements of Child Custody Laws: Massachusetts Recognizes Mediation

You will need competent professionals to guide you through the arrangements for custody, child support and alimony. Instead of hiring a lawyer, you may decide to hire a professional mediator who will work with both spouses to meet the state requirements, the needs of the children and the wishes of both parents. Mediation differs from litigation in that the mediator works with both people at once to define their wishes and goals, effect negotiations and prevent resentment, creating a valid legal document in the process. Where litigators focus on trying to "win" over the other side, mediators focus on helping both people get what they want.

It is vital for children's security and peace of mind that their parents manage the divorce process as maturely as possible. Obviously, this doesn't happen as often as it should! However, studies have shown that divorce's negative impact on children is lessened when parents use mediation rather than litigation to resolve disagreements in the divorce and child custody process. The mediation process positively effects the entire family, as each spouse is supported by the fair and impartial professional who models respect and patience in solving family disagreements. The goal is to create a custody and child support plan that both spouses can live with. Mediators who specialize in child custody and support are also knowledgeable about income limitations and state-mandated regulations around issues such as support payments, visitation and health care, so by the time you reach the courtroom, you can be confident that your agreement will be supported by the judge.

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