Making custody decisions regarding your children is often the most difficult part of a divorce. After all, they are innocent bystanders in the whole process, but the impact on them is nothing minor. It is up to you and your spouse to ensure any custody arrangements are in the best interest of your children. The court also follows this logic, but you do not have to leave custody decisions up to the court. You can make your own agreement as long as you and your spouse both agree and your agreement follows Massachusetts law.
The Mass.gov site explains the judge must review your final custody arrangement to be sure it adheres to the law and is in the best interests of your children. You want to be sure that it follows one of the four custody arrangements the state allows.
If you want to work together raising your children like you have when you were married, you can choose shared legal custody or shared physical custody. Shared legal custody means you both have the right to make decisions about and for your children. You must include each other when making any major decision. Shared physical custody means you both get to see the children and have them with you regularly. How you split up the time depends on the details of your agreement.
If one of you wants more decision-making power or physical time with the children, you might consider sole legal custody and sole physical custody. These are the less desirable options because they remove the responsibilities of parenting from one parent and place them on the other parent. Sole legal custody means only one parent gets the right to make major decisions for the children. Sole physical custody means one parent has the children the majority of the time and the other parent gets visitation or time.
This information is for education and is not legal advice.