Parenting Plans

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Parenting arrangements and parenting plans are important aspects of a divorce proceeding in Massachusetts. These plans determine the legal rights and responsibilities of each parent in regards to the care and upbringing of their children.

When parents divorce, the court will consider what is in the best interests of the children when determining parenting arrangements. This includes factors such as the child’s age, health, and relationship with each parent, as well as any history of abuse or neglect. The court may also consider the wishes of the child, if they are old enough to express them.

There are several different types of parenting arrangements that can be put in place in a Massachusetts divorce. One option is joint legal custody, where both parents have the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as their education and healthcare. Another option is sole legal custody, where one parent has the sole decision-making authority. Physical custody determines where the child will live and with whom. Joint physical custody means the child will spend equal time with each parent, while sole physical custody means the child will live primarily with one parent.

A parenting plan is a document that outlines the specific details of the parenting arrangements, such as a schedule for when the child will spend time with each parent, as well as any other agreements related to the child’s care and upbringing. These plans can be created by the parents themselves, through mediation or negotiation, or by the court.

It is important to note that a parenting plan is not a final document, it can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in a parent’s job or residence.

It is also important for parents to understand that just because one parent has sole physical custody of a child, it does not mean that the other parent is not responsible for financially supporting their child. Massachusetts law requires both parents to financially support their child, regardless of the parenting arrangements. Child support is determined based on a formula that takes into account the income of both parents, as well as other factors such as the number of children and the cost of healthcare.

It is also important for parents to remember that the end of a marriage does not mean the end of their relationship as parents. It is important for both parents to continue to be involved in their child’s life, even if they are no longer together. This can be accomplished through regular communication, shared decision-making, and a commitment to working together for the best interests of the child.

Parenting plans are an important aspect of a Massachusetts divorce. The court will consider what is in the best interests of the child when determining these arrangements, and a parenting plan can be created to outline specific details of the arrangements. It is important for parents to remember that their responsibilities as parents do not end with the end of their marriage, and to work together for the best interests of their child.

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