Massachusetts law generally allows parents to spend time with their children after a divorce. Depending on the facts of your case, it’s possible that you’ll have sole or primary physical custody of your kids. Even if you don’t receive any custody rights, you’ll typically be given the ability to contact your children on a regular basis. There are many steps that you can take to maximize your ability to have a role in your child’s life after your marriage ends.
Show evidence of a strong relationship
A judge will want to see that there is a strong relationship between a parent and child when granting custody rights. You can use phone records, purchase records and statements from a doctor or teacher to prove that you take an active role in your child’s life. Statements from your own doctor or employer may also be used to show that you are physically, emotionally and financially fit to raise your child.
Show grace in court
You will need to show that you have the ability to work with your child’s other parent if you wish to have custody or visitation rights after a divorce. You can do this by communicating with your former partner in a calm and respectful manner while in court. If you have any concerns about your former spouse’s behavior, you can address them with the court during a hearing.
It’s important to note that you might not get sole custody of your kids simply because the other parent drinks alcohol, is in a new relationship or engages in other behaviors that you don’t like. Instead, a judge will base a custody agreement on whether your child is safe while in the care of the other parent.
While you may want to see your kids as often as possible, you will likely need to cede some parenting time to your former spouse. An exception may be made if the other parent engages in behaviors that would put your child in imminent danger or cannot provide for your child’s basic needs such as housing or having sufficient food.