The court will always consider what is “in the best interest of the child” to make its decision. Some important things that the court will consider are:
- The child's well-being;
- How the child is doing in school and in the community;
- The child’s relationship with the parents and other family members;
- The parents’ history of abuse, drugs or abandonment;
- Whether one parent has been the primary caregiver in the past; and
- Depending on the age and maturity of the child, the child’s preference (though this is never the deciding factor).
If the other parent has abused you or your child, there are laws that can provide you with additional protections. It is best to talk to a lawyer before starting this process so you can make sure you have covered everything. For more information, go to Finding a Lawyer in Massachusetts.
Establishing Child Custody
- Seeking an Initial Child Custody or Visitation Order
- Who Has Custody Before Going to Court?
- Who Can File for Custody?
- What if I Have Been Abused?
- Where Do I File for Custody?
- What Forms Do I File for Custody or Visitation?
- How to File for Custody or Visitation
- How Does a Judge Decide Child Custody or Visitation?
- More Information About Custody and Visitation Orders