Mansfield Child Custody Lawyers
We Can Answer Your Custody Questions
We know that you want what's best for your children. Unfortunately, child custody battles often result in increased stress and tension that can harm parent-child relationships. Whenever possible, it's vital for children to maintain a strong relationship with both their parents. Striking a balance between pursuing your best interests and ensuring your children remain happy and healthy is one of the most challenging parts of any custody battle.
Whether you're recently divorced or have been a single parent for a significant amount of time, a good child custody agreement can help your children lead healthy, emotionally fulfilled lives.
The Ostendorf Law Group, PLLC, has earned a reputation for standing up for the rights of Massachusetts families. Today, our Bristol County child custody attorneys are ready to listen to your concerns, explain your options, and develop a parenting plan that works. We'll fight for your parental rights in the courtroom so that you can focus on what really matters—being there for your children.
Take your first step towards a custody arrangement that works for you. Fill out our contact form online or give us a call at (508) 593-1408 to arrange a consultation with our child custody attorneys in Bristol County.
How Is Child Custody Determined in Massachusetts?
For parents, child custody is often the most crucial aspect of any divorce proceeding. In Massachusetts, child custody includes both legal custody and physical custody. While physical custody governs which parent the children live with, legal custody determines what rights the parents have to make decisions about their children's well-being.
Barring extreme circumstances, both parents generally receive joint legal custody of their children, giving both equal rights to make decisions affecting their children's lives:
- Heath and medical care
- Child care and daily needs
- Religious upbringing
- Other important decisions
Physical custody can be more controversial. Most courts try and ensure that children have frequent, continued contact with both parents. To facilitate this, courts often find that some form of shared physical custody or shared parenting plan serves the best interests of the children. This could range from one parent having primary custodial rights while the other parent has substantial visitation time, to the parents sharing nearly equal time with the child.
As your Bristol County child custody attorneys, we'll work closely with you so that we understand your goals and the unique aspects of your case. We'll represent your interests in negotiations as we strive to achieve a parenting plan you can be happy with.
We'll mediate interactions between you and your ex so both parties can reach a child custody arrangement they find mutually beneficial. However, if a custody agreement cannot be achieved through negotiation or family mediation, we will aggressively assert your interests and the best interests of your children in court.
What Does the Judge Look for in a Child Custody Case?
A judge will determine child custody according to “the best interests of the child." This includes:
- Will the child have a safe place to live?
- Will the child be well-fed and clothed?
- Will the child have enough supervision?
- Will the child receive enough emotional support?
- Which parent has been the child’s primary caretaker?
- Does either parent abuse the child?
- Does either parent abuse drugs or alcohol?
- Does either parent expose the child to domestic violence?
How Do I Modify a Custody Agreement in Massachusetts?
Our Bristol County child custody lawyers can help with post-judgment matters that arise in the future, such as when a change of circumstances requires an adjustment in the existing parenting plan or a modification of child support obligations. For example, if you fall on hard times and require more child support from your ex then initially planned, we'll help you file for a child support modification that takes into account your current circumstances. We can also answer your questions about child relocation out of state.
Aspects of a shared parenting plan
Your parenting plan lays the groundwork for a successful co-parenting relationship. It should include a specific visitation or custody schedule depending on whether you agree on sole or shared physical custody. In some cases, parents opt to omit a schedule and agree on “reasonable visitation.” You should also indicate which parent is responsible for transporting the child at the beginning and end of visitation periods.
While it can be difficult to agree with your former spouse about these issues amidst a contentious divorce, you will have to collaborate as parents until your children become adults. Set the stage for a harmonious partnership by striving to create a fair custody plan that provides the support and love your children need during this time of transition.
Custody and Support Enforcement
Unfortunately, parents don't always abide by the rules judges set when determining child custody arrangements. If your ex violates your child custody arrangement and refuses to let you see your children or take care of them as promised, you can file a court order to ensure they take the custody arrangement more seriously.
Your Children Deserve Strong Counsel. Find it with Our Bristol County Child Custody Lawyers Today.
Whether you have full custody, partial custody, or visitation rights, we'll develop a comprehensive parenting plan tailored to your specific needs. We'll work with you to create a parenting plan that enables you to be there for your kids, and allows your kids to live the healthiest lives possible.
We have a heavy litigation background & winning success record.
We offer a flat-fee service for all budgets.
We create personalized strategies to meet your needs.
We are accessible - when you hire us, you get us day or night.