There has been a growing trend in the Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts in the philosophy that parents should, barring certain circumstances, have shared physical custody of their minor children. In this firm, we have seen a trend of parents who ask for what’s “fair” or “half of the time”. However, a parenting plan is dynamic and may not always appear to be equal. Custody is possible to share but whether it’s in the best interest of the child(ren) is determined by the parties or ultimately the Court.
Physical custody is defined by where the children reside and who is responsible for making the day-to-day decisions regarding the children. Traditionally in a divorce, it was automatically presumed the mother was the primary caretaker of the children during the relationship/marriage and therefore, she was awarded primary physical custody of the children. In Paternity cases, (where the parties are unmarried) under the law, it still is presumed to be the Mother.
With that said, times are changing. Women are working and becoming more and more financially independent. With that, father’s rights have come to the forefront and courts have started to analyze the question, “why not?”. If we have two working, capable, and loving parents – who both work, rely on others for various caretaking tasks and chores, what’s the tie breaker? We see that there are more dual-income families, there has been a real shift in a shared parenting plans. Children perform better when parents can continue their relationship post-divorce. Clearly, this is not the same husband/wife relationship but the relationship should evolve to a co-parenting relationship. This is what is required to have a successful shared physical custody plan. The Courts have seen an increase in shared […]