Massachusetts divorce children out of wedlock
Once paternity is established, fathers may bring a claim for custody of their children. It is a common misconception that mothers always obtain custody of the children. Under Massachusetts law, there is no preference given to a parent based solely upon gender. In the past, there was a gender preference, known as the tender years doctrine. The tender years doctrine established a presumption that mothers should have custody of younger children. This resulted in a high rate of mothers obtaining custody.
However, the tender years doctrine is an outdated principle that is no longer used within the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court. Now, the custody rights of the parents are equal, except when there is an issue concerning parental unfitness. Another common misconception is that fathers only obtain custody of their children when the mother is determined to be unfit. The judge will certainly consider the impact of parental misconduct and whether the behavior of a parent puts the child at risk.
Father’s Rights – Guide to Winning Child Custody in Massachuetts
However, potential parental unfitness is only one aspect the judge may consider. A particular custody arrangement or change in custody may be appropriate even when there are no overt concerns regarding parental fitness. In many situations, parents are able to agree upon how custody will be shared.
However, when parents cannot agree on child custody, Massachusetts courts use the best interests of the child standard. Under this approach, it is not a question of who is the better parent, but a question of how to best provide for the child. There is no specific definition of what best interest of the child means, neither is there a specific list of factors that must be considered by the judge.
The absence of clear guidelines makes child custody cases extremely complicated because the judge has a lot of discretion. If you are seeking custody of your children, it is important to consult with a lawyer for assistance with your case. The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site.
Legal Help. This article has program flyers, rules of operations, and information about supervising visits in other languages. Legal Services Online version of a great book, this chapter covers all the details of an action to move out of state with your child, or to prevent the other parent from moving. Includes sample forms.
Requires library card for access Guidelines for court investigation reports , Juvenile Court Department, November In a care and protection proceeding, a judge must have as much relevant information available as possible.
Child Support Cases in Massachusetts
One important source of information is the report of the court investigator, because it provides the court with useful information that otherwise may not be presented by any of the parties in the proceedings. Zibbell, Up to parents , Up to parents.
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Lawyers Representing Unmarried Parents in MA
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