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Shared-custody bills on the rise and could soon be law

If you're involved in a custody battle, you know that it could end in one of two ways. Either you or your spouse will get the children, child support and your home, while the other person is left paying the difference. While Massachusetts didn't used to support shared parenting, it may soon become the first state with a shared parenting law. Why? People are literally going broke trying to fight for their children.

In the news, three parents who had their time with their children massively reduced due to custody battles stepped up to offer testimony in front of the Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary. The parents spent time discussing how the cost to fight for child custody had been too high, that it had left them with little time for their children and they know had an excess of legal bills and child support costs.

There are two bills currently in the legislature that could change things for the better. Both House bill 1207 and Senate bill 834 address custody and favor joint custody between divorcees if they aren't able to come to their own custody agreement before a judge. A judge would still have the right to decide if shared custody wouldn't be healthy for a child, but in general, this could help level the playing field and help both parents get solid time with their children.

If these laws go into effect, Massachusetts could become one of the first states to make joint custody bills into law. Shared parenting laws are on the rise; Massachusetts is just one of close to 20 reviewing the way custody matters are handled and focusing on the potential use of shared-parenting processes.

Source:, "‘I’m out of money, and I’m out of hope’: Rethinking custody battles," Sara Morrison, July 13, 2015

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