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Massachusetts considering changing child custody laws

Massachusetts is one of many states that is considering changing child custody laws. As it currently stands, child custody laws tend to favor mothers' rights as opposed to fathers' rights. This is something that many fathers in the state have expressed concerns about and would like to see addressed.

Currently, child custody laws give greater weight to mothers being the primary caregivers in the home. However, times have certainly changed, and this is no longer the case. More women are working and more fathers are taking on bigger roles in the home.

According to state laws, child custody is currently awarded based on the best interests of the child. This is generally determined by looking at different arrangement options and choosing the one that will cause the least amount of disturbance in the child's life. If the law is changed and if judges are required to weigh in on which parent gets custody, shared parenting time will need to be considered. There are circumstances in which shared parenting is not the best situation for the child, so it will not be granted in all cases. This new law would be a good thing, though, for those families whose fathers are wanting take active roles in the lives of their children.

It is unknown as to if or when a bill giving fathers greater rights regarding child custody will be passed in Massachusetts. This does not mean that fathers are not allowed to fight for shared custody now. Those who wish to have this type of custody arrangement can work with legal counsel to negotiate acceptable custody terms with the other parent or fight for shared custody in court.

Source:, "More Time for Dads? States Weigh Changes to Custody Laws", Jen Fifieild, March 27, 2016

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