Many states have started analyzing the way child custody is awarded by judges. More and more are considering the possibility that child custody be awarded in a 50/50 split except when domestic violence or substance abuse is an issue. In Massachusetts, a task force is currently working to propose a new statute governing how child custody is awarded.
Many of the laws in Massachusetts were written long ago. As a result, the state, and many others across the country, are trying to catch up with medical advances and changing social narratives. For example, many laws governing child custody were written before it was common for same-sex couples to adopt or have children together. For example, the Supreme Court of one state has recently ruled in favor of the biological mother of a child who donated an egg to her same-sex partner.
It is often a difficult and emotional decision for a couple to end a relationship. The decision is further complicated for couples who also have to come to a child custody agreement. While some parents are able to easily and amicably come to an agreement about co-parenting, others need court intervention. As more and more same-sex couples have children, some of the issues involving custody get complicated. A recent decision by one state's Supreme Court could, however, prove instructive for courts in Massachusetts and across the country.
The definition of the family unit has changed drastically over the last several decades. With the increasing acceptance of same-sex couples, families in Massachusetts can be composed of two parents and a child or more than two parents. Changes in laws in other states could that have recently began reflecting this could set a new precedent in determining child custody. For example, some states are now recognizing that a child could have more than two legal parents.
Medical technology has made amazing advances toward allowing every family to produce biological children. Although these advances have made it possible for previously childless couples to have children, they often complicate a child custody agreement in the event of the disintegration of a relationship. As a result, one family's decision to split custody of fraternal twins after the parent's relationship ended in divorce has created controversy in Massachusetts and across the nation.
While the world has become much more accepting of same-sex couples, with many states including Massachusetts -- now allowing couples to legally marry, there are still many issues that have to be ironed out as a result. The split of one same-sex couple has left a judge to decide on child support and visitation as part of a child custody agreement. However, the issues brought up in this case could affect all -- not just same-sex -- couples.
Most people in Massachusetts associate the average 18-year-old more with a teenager than an adult. The assumption that they live a carefree life with few responsibilities is likely widely held. However, that is certainly not the case for one 18-year-old as he finds himself fighting for child custody of an infant daughter that he has never met before.
Those people who are unable to conceive a child of their own often turn to adoption. One cannot imagine the joy a family has once they have found an adoptive match and met their new family member. For one family, however, the heartbreak of losing their adoptive child to her biological father has sparked a child custody battle that challenges federal law regarding adoptions of Native American children and landed them in front of the Supreme Court. The court's decision on the federal law may have an impact on adoptions in every state, including Massachusetts.
Celebrity divorces can often be just as contentious, if not more so, than a divorce between an average Massachusetts couple. This appears to be the case in the heated divorce process unfolding between NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders and his estranged wife, Pilar. The testimony in their ongoing divorce case has been particularly unflattering as they both accuse each other of various improprieties.
Massachusetts parents whose children have been moved to another country may be encouraged by a recent case. In the case, a U.S. Army sergeant is fighting for child custody of his young daughter. The sergeant married a woman from another country and they had one daughter. The mother took the girl back to her native land after their divorce.