About Custody Law

The Custody Awareness Collaborative (CAC) is producing this information about Massachusetts custody laws and proposals to change them to help survivors of domestic violence, parents affected by Massachusetts custody laws, and advocates:

  • Understand our custody laws;

  • Understand proposals to change the laws;

  • Understand how these laws and proposals affect the well-being, health, and safety of themselves and their children; and

  • Advocate knowledgeably and effectively about custody laws and proposals

The Custody Awareness Collaborative believes that Massachusetts custody statutes should:

  • Keep the law that says judges must decide custody cases based on the child‘s best interest, happiness and welfare;

  • Keep the presumption that a parent who has committed a pattern of abuse or a serious incident of abuse should not have custody;

  • Not include a presumption that joint custody is in the child’s best interest; and

  • Emphasize parents’ responsibility for taking care of their children


What is “custody”?

How does the judge decide custody?

How Can A Joint Custody Presumption Threaten A Child's Happiness And Welfare? 

How Can Other Custody Proposals Threaten A Child's Happiness And Welfare? 

How Does Massachusetts emphasize the child’s happiness and welfare and parental responsibility?

How common is required joint custody in The United States?

Have states been successful in requiring joint custody? 

Why not require joint custody?  


Prepared for the Custody Awareness Collaborative by Attorney Jeff Wolf of MassLegalHelp and Community Legal Services and Counseling Center.  February, 2017.  The answers below do not constitute legal advice.