This page is designed to help parents in Massachusetts navigate the legal process that involves child custody and visitation in order to achieve success in their case. Family court can be a scary place for parents across the state of Massachusetts, but with a few simple mantras to keep in mind, you'll feel much more comfortable in the courtroom. The guide teaches you those simple mantras to keep in mind while you are in court and preparing for court. Often, months of planning must begin before a case is filed.
If you and the other parent don't reach an agreement, your case will end in trial. Sole custody is very unusual and means (whether in terms of legal or physical custody) that all custody rights are assigned to one parent. Usually, a party can prove to the court that final joint legal custody is in the best interest of the child. Discovery occurs when both parties gather information from each other to help build their cases.
This can begin at the beginning of the court process and continue until the trial. The two main parts of the discovery are interrogations and depositions. In early settlement, parents go through a brief period of discovery to learn the other's posture. They then attend an evaluation session to help them choose a type of ADR.
If they do not reach full agreement with that method, they move to a conciliation conference, where they try to resolve outstanding issues. Hearings are usually scheduled at the request of a parent, although the judge may order them based on the circumstances of your case. Can I move from Massachusetts with my child? The only circumstances in which the law does not apply when the parents are not married and the other parent did not sign the birth certificate. In such a case, the child is considered to have only one legal parent and, as such, does not need the permission of the other parent or the court to move outside of Massachusetts.
Do you pay child support with joint custody in Massachusetts? If both parents share custody, does anyone pay child support? In many cases, when the parties can agree on the same parenting time, one parent will continue to pay support. Because child support is calculated based on income, the parent with the highest income is likely to continue to pay a portion.