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Either or both parents can file for sole or shared custody in Massachusetts.
If the parents are unmarried, the father must first establish paternity before seeking custody of his child. A judge may establish paternity if one parent files for paternity in court, or if both parents sign and file a voluntary acknowledgement form, which the father may have already signed when the child was born.
One or both parents can ask the court to make decisions for them by seeking a court order for custody and parenting time. A court child custody order can decide:
The court will always consider what is in the best interest of the child to make its decision. This means that the judge will focus on what is best for the child, not what is best for either parent.