A focus on the child’s best interests in a child custody case in Massachusetts implies that the custody and visitation decisions will be made to fulfill the larger goal of ensuring the child’s safety, security, happiness, and emotional, mental, and physical development.
In general, the child’s best interests usually lie in the fact that both parents maintain a close and nurturing relationship with the child. However, the practical hurdles in fostering and maintaining such a relationship may present a challenge in the resolution of child custody disputes.
If you believe that your child custody case as part of your divorce proceedings could be contentious, you need an experienced family law attorney in Massachusetts who has a deep understanding of the law.
Jay Davis has the expertise and knowledge to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your divorce and child custody case. Let Jay and his dedicated team walk you through this difficult process and provide you a robust legal representation. Call 617-221-3548 to make an appointment with Jay.
Factors that will Determine the “Best Interests” of Your Child
While the “best interests” legal standard cannot be cast in stone because each situation is different, there are some common factors that are considered in the analysis of most custody matters. These include:
- The child’s wishes (if he or she is of an age when it is possible to reasonably express a preference)
- Any special needs of the child, and the ability of each parent to look after those needs
- Age and sex of the child
- The parents’ physical and mental health
- The need to provide a continued stable home environment
- Considerations related to religion and culture
- Custody of any other children, which may be relevant to the custody arrangement of this child
- Opportunity of support and interaction with extended family members of either parent (for example, grandparents)
- Interrelationships and interactions with other family members
- Child’s adjustment in the school and the community
- Evidence of emotional abuse by a parent or excessive disciplining
- Evidence of child/sex abuse, or drug and alcohol abuse by a parent
- Evidence of a pattern of domestic violence
It is important to understand that the court in Massachusetts will not look at just one factor or a group of factors. They will adopt a more holistic approach to determine the child’s best interests. The court will make a decision after considering numerous factors surrounding the child’s circumstances as well as the parent’s circumstances, while maintaining the child’s ultimate safety, security, and happiness as the overriding concerns.
Davis Law Group is ethical, competent, and driven by a singular motive to protect the rights and interests of its clients. Speak to us to learn why clients trust us and recommend us to their family and friends. Call us now at 617-221-3548 or contact us online.
How to Show the Judge that the Child’s Best Interests are Paramount for You
To convince a family court judge in Massachusetts that your child’s best interests are your topmost concern, you should be able to show your active involvement in your child’s life, and how you have been prioritizing care and attention for him or her in various situations.
Perhaps you can show that you have regularly attended parent-teacher meets and other events at their school, and how you are involved in their academic development. Your participation in the child’s extracurricular activities will be seen favorably as also your demonstrable interest in making the right parenting decisions and choices for your child at every stage.
The judge may also consider your efforts to rebuild a relationship of trust and dignity with the other parent, which demonstrates your intent to uphold the best interests of your child.
What may not be Considered Favorably in the Court
Judges are usually inclined to keep the child in an arrangement that the child is comfortable or familiar with. For instance, they may favor a situation where the child remains in the same neighborhood or same school. Judges will usually not favor a situation where visitation for a parent becomes difficult or a parent is denied any access to the child.
Relocation and Child Custody
Relocation is another sensitive issue, which the court will evaluate carefully. If the judge believes that the custodial parent is wanting to move simply to curtail or deny the other parent’s access to the child, they are likely to reject the request to move.
On the other hand, if the court sees that moving will promote the best interests of the child in terms of better schooling, or better access to a family support system or child care, or will benefit the child in any other credible way, relocation may be granted.
The bottom line is that the courts in Massachusetts will not only consider whether you are a fit parent for child custody, but will look at your child’s best interests holistically while aiming to ensure that both parents get the opportunity to actively participate in their child’s life.
Talk to an Experienced Massachusetts Child Custody Lawyer
Divorce attorney Jay Davis is a skilled and authoritative expert in child custody matters, and has a keen understanding of the legal standards that influence custody decisions in Massachusetts. Choose Jay if you are looking for the most effective legal representation in a case involving child custody. Feel free to speak to us and get the right legal advice that you need. Call us now at 617-221-3548 or contact us online.