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Custody, Parenting Time, and Visitation

Going through a separation or divorce, or leaving an abusive relationship, is not easy. Your life is disrupted, and if you have children, their lives are disrupted, too. If you have children, the legal, financial, and emotional issues are even more complicated. It is a stressful time for children.

The Custody, Parenting Time, and Visitation section has information about how the law deals with your children when the parents are separated or divorced. It will help you think through the legal issues you will need to answer questions like:

Where will the children live?

Who will they live with?

Who will make important decisions about their lives?

How can my children spend time with the parent they are not living with?

Where there is domestic violence, should the children have supervised visitation with the abusive parent?

If you and the other parent cannot agree on these questions, you can go to court. The judge will decide about custody, parenting time, and visitation. This section has information about how judges make these decisions.

Sometimes grandparents can get visitation rights.

When you use this information, it is very important to remember that every case is different. This information is very general. It is not a substitute for individual legal advice.

If you need advice about how to proceed in your particular situation, especially if both parents do not agree about ending the relationship, or if you are trying to leave an abusive relationship, you should talk to a lawyer.

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute

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