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For child custody determinations, stable may not mean two parents

To play a role in a child's life, various adults may seek court approval, even if they are not the child's parent. For example, grandparents may request custodial powers. Indeed, in our changing American family demographic, new custody arrangements are bound to arise. A recent example, involving one dad and two moms, underscores that the best interests of a child can be served from a variety of loving contacts.

Specifically, the court awarded shared parental custody to three adults: a divorced couple and the unmarried birth mother. The court explained that the 10-year-old boy had become accustomed to the parenting of all three parents, so a tri-custody arrangement would provide continuity in the boy’s life.

Massachusetts, like many states, has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Act. The Act utilizes a factors test. It also considers the child's own preferences about where and with whom he or she would like to live. The Act also allows for options like joint custody and visitation by grandparents.

When considering child custody factors, many family law courts in Massachusetts look for an arrangement that will provide consistency and continuity in a child’s educational, home, family and community life. A parent whose schedule prevents him or her from attending to a child’s daily needs, such as frequent work travel, may be more likely to share joint legal custody but not physical custody.

Our family law firm keeps these factors in mind when approaching child custody discussions. We believe it is possible to provide advocacy for our clients while also designing a custody arrangement that will be best for all the parties, parents and children alike.

Source: CNN, “Judge gives custody of child to 1 dad and 2 moms,” Sarah Jorgensen and Ellie Kaufman, March 14, 2017

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