There are no specific provisions about how child custody must be decided in Massachusetts. Each custody arrangement shall be made according to the circumstances of a particular divorce case. The judge considers numerous factors to determine the custody arrangement always taking the child’s best interests into consideration.
Initially, both parents are presumed to have equal rights, so joint custody is welcomed if the parties are ready to cooperate.
In general, in Massachusetts, there are two types of custody which may be granted solely or jointly - these are physical and legal custody.
Physical custody refers to the everyday care of a child and determines with whom the child lives. If joint physical custody is awarded, the child is assumed to have more or less equal periods of residing with each parent.
Legal custody reflects who has authority to make the most important decisions concerning the child's life. Joint legal custody may be awarded even if the physical custody is sole.