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Like all other states, Massachusetts has its own rules for how it determines the eligibility of parents to obtain child custody. The first thing you should be aware of is that you can make the arrangements with your spouse to find a custody agreement that is amenable for your family, including joint custody arrangements. However, if you are not able to agree on who should have custody of your child or children, then the court will make the decision for you.

How does the court decide who is awarded custody?

 The Massachusetts government states that the court evaluates a number of criteria to ensure that it reaches a decision that is in the child’s best interests. That is why it is important for you to provide the court with all the information you can that will help it to make a decision, particularly information that will reflect positively on your parenting ability and relationship with the child.

The information that the court will consider includes the child’s preference as well as the child’s maturity and age. The court will also consider if you have acted as a primary caregiver for the child at any point before the divorce.

Be aware that it may hurt your chances at gaining custody if the court has any knowledge of you abandoning or abusing the child, or if you were using drugs at any point during the marriage. You should also be prepared to show the court that your guardianship will allow the child to do better in his or her community and in school.

This article is meant to inform you and is not meant to be used as legal advice.