What Custody Means in Massachusetts

You have kids, and you don’t live with their other parent for whatever reason. You might be separated or divorced or never married.

The following are the kinds of custody you can have of children in Massachusetts:

Joint Custody/Shared Parenting/Co-Parenting
The courts in Massachusetts are generally in love with the concept of ‘co-parenting’ – it’s all the rage, and it actually makes sense if both parties are willing and able and live near enough to each other for this to work.  If you have a ‘co-parenting’ plan, you have “joint physical and joint legal custody” of your kids.

Physical Custody – this is where the child resides the majority of the time, if it’s half and half, then both parties may have it.

Legal Custody – this means a party has legal rights to the child, including the right to have access to all of the child’s medical and school records.  This also means that this party has input on all of the major decisions of a child’s life, including medical decisions, religious decisions, where the child attends school or camp, and anything else that might arise.  The child does not have to reside with you for you to have these rights.  If you and another party both have legal custody it’s called joint legal custody.

Sole Custody – this means you are the only one with legal and physical custody of the child.  This does not mean that the other party never sees the child (although it might); it could mean that the other party has visitation with the child (supervised or unsupervised).

What is an Assault?

What does it mean if you are charged with assault (M.G.L. chapter 265, section 13A) in Massachusetts? It means that the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person charged placed another individual in fear of bodily harm.   You do not have to actually have physical contact with the alleged victim to be…

Should you Hire a Lawyer if you get Charged with a Crime in Massachusetts?

A question I get a lot, is “Do I really need a lawyer?  Can’t I just handle this myself?” Well, what if you broke your wrist?  Would you set it yourself? Having a broken wrist that doesn’t heal properly, probably won’t kill you (disclaimer: I am in no way a doctor and am not saying…

Stalking – The Legal Definition

Stalking.  What is it really? To be convicted of the crime of stalking, there is actually a lot that the Commonwealth has to prove.  Stalking is defined as: a person willfully (on purpose) and maliciously (meanly or spitefully or with a desire to cause injury or fear) engages in a pattern of conduct or series…

Elderly Drivers are Impacted by the New Texting Ban

Elderly drivers always seem to be in the news – not the majority of them who drive well, use proper caution and follow the rules of the road.  It seems that all are up in arms about the ‘danger’ of the elderly driving.  This is a very real concern for the general public and for…

Criminal Harassment

What is criminal harassment? It isn’t just when someone annoys you once, and goes on their way.  It is actually the following: someone engages (either willfully or maliciously) in a knowing pattern of conduct, or series of acts of a period of time directed at a specific person. the person who has the acts directed…

What’s Considered a Mobile Device and What Can I Use While on the Road with the New Law?

The new anti-texting law takes effect on September 30, 2010 in Massachusetts.   This law prohibits using any mobile device. What does this mean?  It means you can’t: WRITE electronic messages (texts, IM’s, emails, etc) READ electronic messages (texts, IM’s, emails, etc.) SEND electronic messages (texts, IM’s, emails, etc.) ACCESS THE INTERNET PLAY VIDEO GAMES…

Mayhem, What is it?

What is Mayhem? This word often conjures up visions of a crowd gone wild, perhaps visions of police in riot gear pushing back a crowd. That is not the legal definition of mayhem. Mayhem is actually when someone hurts someone so badly that they are maimed or disfigured. Mayhem is a crime of intent, meaning…

What is the Sex Offender Registry Board?

The Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB), is the board that classifies sex offenders in Massachusetts.  Anyone charged and convicted of an enumerated sex offense in Massachusetts can potentially be classified by the board. Individuals are not notified by the board of their potential classification until after they have been convicted.  In the case of people…

Arraignment

Arraignment is when you are officially charged with a crime in front of judge. You get to arraignment one of four ways.  The first way is a little less pleasant. 1. Worse case scenario – You are arrested and brought to court either the same day or the next day.  Here are a few scenarios where this…

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