Disagreements over child custody and child visitation are the most frequent difference between a contested and an uncontested divorce. Divorce and the events leading up to it can have devastating effects on children and can lead to alienation between children and their parents.
In Massachusetts there are two distinct types of custody, physical custody and legal custody. Legal custody involves the ability to make major decisions on the child’s behalf, such as medical, educational and religious decisions. Whereas physical custody is concerned with determining which party will have primary parenting responsibilities. Generally, one parent is determined to have physical custody while the other is granted rights of visitation.
Custody and visitation decisions are based on an assessment of a number of factors including the conduct of the parties, the child’s individual needs and ultimately what is in the best interests of the children. As a result either parent may obtain physical custody of the children and there is no presumption that the children remain with the mother.