Best Interests Of The Child: Family Law In Massachusetts

Divorce happens to strong people who are good parents. But, during divorce proceedings, it’s important for the splitting couple to remember that making decisions are for the best interests of the child and not the best interest of the parents.

It’s hard for mothers and fathers to avoid selfishness and keep their children all to themselves when there is another parent involved who loves the children and desires to care for them and provide for them as well.

That is why the State of Massachusetts uses a “best interests of the child” standard during child custody hearings.

The driving force behind child custody decisions are the needs of the child without either parent possessing any advantage over the other when it comes to awarded custody. Massachusetts family law has no specific factors that determine a child’s best interest, leaving the discretionary decision in the hands of Massachusetts judges.

The law does say, however, that the child’s welfare and happiness are of the utmost concern, resulting in the courts exploring any negative effects a child’s living conditions — past or present — may have had on the child’s overall health.

The Types of Awarded Parental Custody Cases Include, but Are Not Limited To, the Following:

  • joint legal custody
  • sole legal custody
  • joint physical custody
  • sole physical custody

Outside of an initial temporary shared legal custody award, there is no presumption in favor of joint, legal, or physical custody. However, there is a presumption against abusive parents being awarded sole, joint, legal, or physical custody.

After solving custody stipulations, the court and the parents work together to create a parenting plan that is — again — for the best interests of the child.


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