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Legal Information: Massachusetts


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December 14, 2023

Are there any additional factors a judge will consider when deciding temporary custody between parents who are in the process of divorce?

If the parents are divorcing, generally they are considered to have temporary shared legal custody while the divorce is pending unless the judge orders otherwise. (However, this does not mean that they will necessarily have temporary shared physical custody.) When deciding whether temporary shared legal custody would not be in the best interest of the child, the judge must consider:

  • whether any member of the family abuses alcohol or drugs or has deserted the child; and
  • whether the parties have a history of being able and willing to cooperate in matters concerning the child.1

1 M.G.L. 208 § 31