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New discussions about parental rights in Massachusetts

When parents go through the process of divorce, there are often many questions about what will happen to their child. Once a family court judge delivers a custody order, some parents feel as though justice took its proper course. Others parents, however, may feel their parental rights were not given due consideration, and wish that they were awarded more time.

Lawmakers in the state of Massachusetts have recently looked closely at child custody laws in the state. These lawmakers are feeling a push from local and national advocates to make laws that reflect the importance of sharing equal custody when raising a child.

Because of the recent attention, Governor Deval Patrick has created a group of individuals ranging from psychologists to parents to create a bill that may revise the current state law. The bill would essentially change the presumption of custody, making joint legal and physical custody the new norm. The idea is to create a system that is more children-centered and focused on the best interests of the child.

A family that already has an existing custody order may eventually feel the effect of this new legislation. Parents that do not agree with a custody order in place, even without a change in law, are able to challenge their current custody order. When a parent demonstrates that a significant change in circumstances, a Massachusetts court may decide to change the terms of their order.

Parents in the state of Massachusetts with questions about new legislation or parents looking to change their current child custody order should discuss their circumstances with an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can explain relevant law and help protect the legal rights of parents and the best interests of the child.

Source: Lowell Sun "Push grows for equal-time child custody," Chelsea Diana, February 16, 2014

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