Before or in the absence of a voluntary award or recognition of paternity, the mother. MGL c, 208, § 28 Care, custody and maintenanceMGL c, 208, § 28A Temporary careMGL c, 208, § 29 Minor children, divorces abroadMGL c, 208, § 30 Transfer of Child from StateMGL c, 208, § 31 Joint CustodyMGL c, 208, § 31A Consideration of Abuse MGL c, 208, § 32 Bringing the Child to CourtMGL c, 208 c, 209, § 38 Visits and orders custody; consideration of abuse of the parent or child; best interests of the childMGL c, 209B Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction ActMGL c, 209C, § 10 Award of Custody; Criteria. Before or in the absence of a voluntary award or recognition of paternity, the mother will have custody of a child born out of wedlock. When parents separate, they may not agree on issues related to their child.
When the child is under 18, one or both parents can ask the court to make decisions on their behalf when obtaining a court order for child custody or parenting time. For information about custody when you are not a parent, see Guardianship of Children. Massachusetts recognizes legal and physical custody, and these are granted on a single or shared basis. Sole legal custody refers to one of the parents having the right to make important decisions regarding the welfare of the child.
This includes issues such as education, health care, and religious practices. Joint legal custody refers to both parents having a collective responsibility to make these decisions for their child. While legal custody deals with making important decisions for a child, physical custody has more to do with the child's daily routine and care. Sole physical custody refers to a child who lives full time with one parent, and that parent is responsible for the child's daily care and supervision.
Joint physical custody refers to the child living with both parents for certain periods of time and, therefore, the parents share responsibility for the child's daily care and supervision. To determine whether temporary joint legal custody would not be in the best interest of the child, the court will consider all relevant facts, including but not limited to whether any family member abuses alcohol or other drugs or has abandoned the child and whether the parties have a history of being able and willing to cooperate in matters related to the child. The types of cases handled by probate family courts26 that may include custody or visitation issues are family law cases, such as divorces, cases involving the determination of paternity for children whose parents are not married to each other, child support cases, and legal separations. Visitation rights can only be established in a family law case, such as a divorce or custody case or a case involving determination of paternity for children whose parents are not married to each other.