The Division of Parenting
Some people in the divorce industry talk about mother’s rights and father’s rights. In the past, courts used to frequently award mothers sole custody of the children. Today, shared custody is the norm. Both parents have equal rights with shared custody.
Fathers’ Rights vs. Mothers’ Rights
In custody battles in court, the judge will typically award custody to the parent who has historically been the most involved in the child’s life. In the majority of cases involving young children, this parent is the mother. But times are changing. More and more parents are evenly split parenting responsibilities. The stay at home dad is becoming more common. In these cases, the custody decision may be harder to make. Shared custody arrangements are usually most beneficial to the child, though.
Physical Custody and Rights
In shared custody arrangements, both the mother and father have the same rights. If one parent has physical custody, meaning the child lives with him or her, the other parent will have parenting time. Parenting time is the right to visitation. During parenting time, the father has the right to make day-to-day decision regarding the child.
For example, he can decide what the child eats for dinner. A father has a right to parenting time even if he fails to pay child support. If the father has a history of abuse, however, he may only get to see his child under supervision or in public places.
Legal Custody and Rights
The parent with legal custody has the right to make major decisions about the child, such as where they go to school. Parents often share legal custody. If a father has physical custody, he most likely will have legal custody as well. If he just has parenting time, he may or may not have legal custody. In the end, it all depends on what is best for the child. Typically it is best for both the mother and the father to have custody and make major decisions about the child.
Fathers also have the right to remain in the marital home during the divorce. Men sometimes leave the house thinking they don’t need to stay. This can be a mistake. It is often best to have both parents stay in the marital home during the divorce. It is important both parents stay involved in the child’s life during and after the divorce.
If you are a father divorcing in Massachusetts, contact Mediation Advantage Services for expert family law help. Experienced in divorce mediation, Law Office of Polly Tatum can provide you with the information and guidance needed to negotiate a fair separation agreement with your spouse. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 576-5886, fill out our online form, today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session.
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