Child custody disputes are emotional for both parents and children. As the parties try to reach an agreement over visitation rights, tensions may build as both parents worry about their child’s welfare. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the court system is called upon to make a decision.
Courts in a Massachusetts child custody dispute examine various factors. The most important factor is an arrangement that is in the child’s best interests. What is in a child’s best interests is the promotion of the child’s happiness, security, mental health and physical health. It is generally in the child’s best interest to maintain a close relationship with both parents. Courts also look at who the child’s primary caretaker is, and the child’s preferences regarding custody.
An unusual case in Massachusetts highlights the different aspects of child custody disputes. An admitted rapist is seeking visitation rights to the child he fathered with his then 14-year-old victim. He was sentenced to 16 years of probation with the conditions that he acknowledges he is the father of the child and abides by orders from the probate and family court. He was recently ordered to pay child support which triggered his right request visitation. The victim and her family have hired an attorney in an effort to prevent him from obtaining visitation.
Although some states have taken steps to protect mothers of children conceived during a rape, Massachusetts is one of 34 states that have not addressed termination of a rapist’s parental rights.
Source: Fox 25 News, “Rapist wants visitation rights; teen mom fighting back,” Mike Beaudet, Sept. 24, 2012.
Our law firm represents families and individuals dealing with family law issues, such as divorce, child custody, child support and visitation.