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Child custody legislature under review across the country

At one time or another, most people will have heard a tale about a bitter custody battle. California residents who are entering into divorce with the issue of child custody looming ahead may face any number of problems. Few things will stir up emotions as much as the discussions about what happens to the children.

Two bills are currently being presented to the Massachusetts legislature that would recommend joint custody by law as long as it is within the best interest of the child. Often, one parent is awarded sole custody while the other parent is granted visitation. This can result in the non-custodial parent paying large sums of money while being severely restricted in the time he or she is permitted to spend with the child or children. The payment of child support may also mean that the non-custodial parent has no more money to pay legal fees in order to secure more access. These joint custody bills recommend that children spend at least one-third of their time with each parent, barring extenuating circumstances.

Where there is conflict between the parents, it may sometimes be the case that one parent appears to be favored over the other by a judge. These bills appear to be designed to avoid the possibility that parents use the child or children as pawns in an argument that is more about money than it is about the kids. In order to deny an estranged spouse shared custody, one parent must have proof that the other parent is unfit to be given custody of the child or children for at least one-third of the time.

Ultimately, it is the best interest of the child that will prevail. As yet, there is no information on whether California's child custody laws will come under the same reviews. Whether or not they do, it will still be in any parent's best interest to seek the relevant advice and guidance appropriate to his or her own circumstances.

Source: boston.com, "'I'm out of money, and I'm out of hope': Rethinking custody battles", Sara Morrison, July 23, 2015

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