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Shared parenting in child custody cases in Massachusetts

Child custody laws are being re-examined so that divorced parents are allowed to have shared equal custody of their children. A father in Massachusetts has been negotiating with the courts to see his 8-year-old son more than just a couple hours a week. In 2006, he was granted visitation for only three hours a week. After going to court a dozen times, the court increased his child custody time so that now he sees his son every other Thursday, every other weekend and every other Monday.

It is still not enough time in this father's eyes. The father wants to have equal time with his son and be more than a part-time parent. The governor of Massachusetts has acknowledged the push for change and has put forth a task force to review possible revisions to the state law. Those who support shared parenting say that children are better off if they spend equal time with both parents.

In Massachusetts, 30 percent of children are raised in split households. However, the split of parental time with children is not always 50/50. With shared-parenting laws in place, child custody will be more evenly split and prevent the custodial and non-custodial parenting situations. In 2012, a series of bills were filed to make joint legal custody more the norm in child custody cases.

Those who do not support shared-parenting say that, although shared-parenting is a good concept, it can have a negative impact if the best interest of the child is not considered. They want the legislation to be first and foremost child-centered, fair to parents and judicial. Successful child custody cases in Massachusetts can determine the best situation for the child. Parents who feel they do not have a fair child custody arrangement may be able to petition the courts for a change to something that is more equitable and beneficial to both parents and children.

Source:, Push grows for shared parenting, Chelsea Diana, Feb. 18, 2014

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