A Massachusetts divorce can be a difficult situation for every couple. Regardless if you've been married a few years, or a few decades, dealing with the mental and physical situations that arise from a divorce is never going to be easy.
Important to keep in mind that Massachusetts divorced parents are still in a relationship, frequently lasting many years. But just because a couple didn't get it right while married, they can still have a respectful parenting relationship after divorce, right? Not very often. With all the bitterness and anger surrounding divorce, children frequently become POWs in the civil war of a custody battle.
Definitions of a "good Massachusetts father" are as varied as there are goodfathers, but one thing everyone agrees with is that a good father is a responsible person. A father takes care of his children and keeps, to the best of his abilities, the world around his children in working order. Responsibility is the backbone of parenting, and in a society such as ours, where definitions of masculinity are entwined with notions of leadership and authority, a father is expected to leave no loose ends, nothing overlooked.
Is your blended family just like The Brady Bunch? Probably not, because it's noteasy to combine two Massachusetts families into a new unit. Welcoming a new spouse brings with it an explosion of stress-inducing newness, with new stepchildren, new rules, new demands, new religious practices and more. Though you'll have extra challenges as a blended family, creating a lovely, peaceful home is attainable.
As you undoubtedly know, the cost of raising kids in Massachusetts and across the U.S. is rising steadily. A significant part of that expense is due to increases in childcare costs. But how much are American parents spending to have their kids looked after? Business Broker Network, an online marketplace for businesses up for sale, put together a set of maps that shows the average cost of childcare in every state. Spoiler alert: it's a lot.
Although you can't predict what will happen in Massachusetts custody cases, you should draft standard language in custody agreements and court orders that will address common problems that arise in joint legal and physical custody situations. Doing so will help align parental expectations and minimize conflict for children.
Updating or correcting your Massachusetts child support does not make you less of a father or mother; it just means you'll have more money to spend on your child in different ways. The child support guidelines have a formula that is based on a number of factors. And if your child support is too high or calculated incorrectly, you are actually doing your child a disservice. The entire point of child support is that it's supposed to make sure that your child is comfortable and, well, supported wherever they may be. If you're paying child support above and beyond the guidelines, then you cannot support your child the way that they require when they visit with you. To that end, here are some things to consider.
The Massachusetts Probate and Family Courts have wide discretion in making child custody orders and thus the results are not predictable with any level of certainty. The courts are guided by a child's best interest in making an initial custody order. Courts make orders relative to physical custody and legal custody. The parties are encouraged to reach agreements between themselves without court intervention.