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Child Custody Archives

Actress Kelly Rutherford asks U.S. to take custody of her kids

Massachusetts residents may be interested to learn that "Gossip Girl" actress Kelly Rutherford has asked a federal court to grant the U.S. government custody of her two young children in a last-minute bid to keep them from returning to France to live with their father. The children, ages 5 and 7, are currently visiting her in New York.

Massachusetts child custody reform? Some say ‘no’

The first part of this two-part post explored the arguments that advocates are making in support of reforming child custody laws in Massachusetts. In a quick recap, the proposed legislation would add a few amendments. The primary change would force the courts to make joint custody the first choice, excluding cases involving an unfit parent.

Massachusetts child custody reform? Some say 'yes'

In 2010, U.S Census data estimated that approximately 80 percent of the custodial parents across the country were women. Advocates for child custody reform, like the Boston-based National Parents Organization, often cite statistics such as this in support of new legislation.

Virtual visitation and Massachusetts child custody

Child custody agreements in Massachusetts are increasingly changing to account for new technology and methods of communication between parents and children. Technologically based communication, otherwise known as virtual visitation, is considered to be an enhancement to regular physical visitation that allows parents and children greater access to one another outside of regular court-ordered visitation. This form of visitation is frequently encouraged to foster stronger emotional bonds and permit children and parents to stay in more regular contact.

An overview of supervised visitation programs

A Massachusetts parent who has been a victim of abuse at the hands of the child's other parent may be fearful of having to interact with that individual during future visitation dates. The potential for continued abuse is also an important concern to courts that are determining visitation schedules in child custody cases. Supervised visitation may be ordered if there are risks for a child or the custodial parent during these times. This is a program devised to ensure the safety of a child as time is spent with a parent.

Exercising parenting time

When a Massachusetts couple goes through a divorce, in most cases one parent will become the custodial parent while the other parent will have visitation rights. While many non-custodial parents ensure that they visit with their children during their scheduled parenting time, others decide that they no longer want to or cannot see their children.

Abusive parents' eligibility for custody and visitation

Massachusetts residents who are divorcing a spouse with a history of violence often have concerns about their children's safety and their own safety. Parents who want to ensure their children's safety may have questions about their ex-spouses' eligibility to receive custody or visitation rights if they have been abusive toward their families in the past.

Limiting grandparents' visitation rights in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, grandparents may win visitation rights to their grandchildren. While it may be possible to limit the time that grandparents have to see their grandchildren, there needs to be good reason to do so. For instance, if a grandparent is abusive to the child or teaching the child to hate his or her parents, that may be grounds to limit visitation time. However, a court will not typically deny a grandparent visitation rights simply because a parent requests that such a ruling is made.

The concept of reasonable visitation

Figuring out child custodial issues can be a difficult endeavor, but even once they are resolved, further complications can arise when it comes to visitation by the noncustodial parent. In some cases, a judge will order a fixed visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent, but when two parents can manage to work together, they may agree on "reasonable visitation". Massachusetts parents who agree to this see several benefits, but this type of arrangement isn't right in every situation.

Understanding the best interests of the child

Parents in Massachusetts may benefit from learning more about the factors that are generally used to determine the best interests of the child, as described by the Child Welfare Information Gateway. Family courts typically preside over cases that can significantly affect children's lives, including issues that involve custody determination and placement, terminating parental rights, permanency planning and safety and living conditions. Every state has laws requiring judges to consider the best interests of the child when making these decisions.

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