Child custody issues can become complicated and entail a great deal of emotional upheaval for the entire family. This area of Massachusetts domestic relations practice requires professionals who have the compassion needed to deal with families and children. It also requires legal professionals who will work diligently to protect the rights of children and parents as situations evolve and change during the course of the divorce proceedings. The Law Office of Rosemary Purtell knows how important each child custody case is. Attorney Rosemary Purtell and her staff will dedicate the time and resources needed to make sure the best interests of the child/children are represented.
What’s in The Best Interest of The Child
Custody decisions involve so much more than where a child goes to sleep each night. A child’s welfare and happiness in every area of life needs to be explored and considered when custody decisions are made. To that end, the parties and the Court may engage professionals to assist them in developing a parenting plan and custody arrangements such as a Guardian ad Litem or a parenting coordinator.
Massachusetts makes a distinction between legal and physical custody. Sole legal custody means one parent makes vital decisions for the child, decisions including: education, health care and medical treatment, religious upbringing, and other decisions related to emotional health and wellbeing. Shared legal custody means both parents make those decisions jointly and each has a say in those aspects of the child’s development. Physical custody relates to where the child resides. Primary physical custody means the child resides primarily with one parent, with the other parent usually having a regular parenting schedule. Shared physical custody means the child(ren) spends approximately equal time with both parents.
When making custody decision, the best interests of the child is always paramount. A dispute over child custody may also involve the investigation of a Guardian ad Litem. An evaluation of each parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable home for the child may be necessary. A parent should be prepared to discuss and show his or her abilities as a caregiver if a Guardian ad Litem becomes involved in the case.
In Massachusetts, the courts strive to have parents work out a parenting plan. Joint legal custody is often presumed unless there is a specific reason one parent should not be given joint legal custody. Shared physical custody arrangements are also becoming more commonplace. The parenting plan will outline each party’s responsibility for making decisions with respect to the child, the manner in which any disputes that may arise are handled, and will also provide a parenting schedule for the child.
GAL (Guardian Ad Litem)
When you are dealing with a child custody case or a modification of child custody or parenting plan, you need clear-headed guidance and reliable support from a legal representative who cares. The impact of a custody agreement is far-reaching and greatly influences the development of a child and that child’s bond with a parent. Attorney Purtell has the unique experience of serving as a GAL (Guardian Ad Litem) and has completed very challenging investigations that required strong recommendations. She will take the time to explore the unique aspects of your case and provide the resources needed to ensure that you are prepared. She will review details of a regular parenting time schedule, holiday visits, vacations, and decision-making capabilities, and work to ensure that your rights as a parent are respected. She knows the emotional toll a child custody dispute can take on all involved, particularly the child. This is why she will approach each case with sensitivity and a dedication to a fair resolution. Let Attorney Purtell be by your side as you navigate a child custody case.