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Massachusetts parents may equally share child custody

One of the hardest parts of a divorce for any parent is to break the news of the split-up to the children and then help them through the potential difficulties ahead. Children of divorce may easily feel confused and angry about the situation, and they might worry about not being able to see mom or dad as often as they once did as a result of a child custody determination that favors one parent in Massachusetts. However, many state lawmakers are striving to change this by pushing for divorcing parents to share equal custody of their kids.

Those who support these shared-parenting laws say that children benefit the most from spending the same amount of time with each parent. They argue that custody should be awarded to one parent only when there is a history of abuse that could put the children in danger. With more men serving as caretakers in the home, proponents of the law say that both men and women should be given the opportunity to enjoy custody of their children.

On the contrary, those who oppose these laws say that courts should be able to decide custody arrangements flexibly, based on the children's best interests. Still, most Americans prefer shared custody, according to polls. After all, many noncustodial parents have fewer powers than custodial parents do, which easily leads to animosity in such situations.

A court in Massachusetts currently assumes the responsibility for ultimately determining which parent will receive child custody after a divorce, based on the facts of each individual case. The judge looks at factors such as both parents' desires as well as the children's best interests. The parents certainly have the right to seek their own best interests while considering the other party's wishes and especially focusing on the health and well-being of their children.

Source: USA Today, Shared parenting could be new divorce outcome, Jonathon Ellis, Jan. 27, 2014

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