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Massachusetts considering fathers’ rights statute revision

The Massachusetts State House recently heard testimony after testimony from teary-eyed fathers, pleading their case for change in the statutes that dictate shared custody, visitation and other child custody rights. The current proposed bill would push for shared parenting more than one parent over the other having sole custody. Massachusetts is one of about 20 states considering these kinds of laws.

Supporters of the bill say shared parenting reduces the longevity and intensity of custody battles and divorce cases altogether. Recent studies have also shown that children benefit from spending as much time as possible with both parents. Sole custody tends to lead to more psychosomatic issues in children.

Critics have logic on their side as well. They state that using a blanket law that guarantees visitation rights to both parents is dangerous. It could mean parents who have shown tendencies toward abuse or otherwise are not fit guardians could still be guaranteed visitation. Rather, they say, each dispute should be handled on a case by case basis, and the child’s best interest should also be the top priority.

Because of these equally powerful arguments, the Massachusetts House and Senate have not given much indication either way about their ultimate decisions. But, supporters say they are still optimistic about the bill being passed and fathers being given more equitable visitation rights.

Anyone who is facing an unfair custody arrangement may benefit from speaking with a divorce law attorney. An experienced lawyer may be able to petition the courts for a more reasonable and balanced custody agreement.

Source: Boston Globe, “In Mass. and elsewhere, a push for custody reform,” Dugan Arnett, August 1, 2015

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