In Massachusetts there are two forms of child custody: legal custody and physical custody. Physical custody of the child means that the child lives with that parent. Very often one parent will have sole physical custody of the child and the other parent will have visitation rights.
Legal custody dictates what rights and obligations each parent has regarding the medical, educational and other needs of the child. Very often, the parents will have joint legal custody of the child and share the obligations.
When there is a disagreement about custody, the Court may appoint a guardian ad litem who is empowered to investigate and recommend an appropriate parenting schedule and custody arrangement.
In Massachusetts, a parent's child support obligations generally follow standard "Child Support Guidelines." However, when one party earns more than $75,000 or both parties together earn more than $100,000, the guidelines do not apply.
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