Factors considered in a Massachusetts child custody dispute

When going through a divorce, issues such as property division are inevitable. For couples with children, however, the most stressful issues often concern child custody and visitation rights. A child’s welfare is of the utmost importance, and as such it is imperative to have reliable legal guidance on child custody issues.

Evidence of a parent’s drug or alcohol abuse is taken very seriously by courts in connection with child custody and visitation arrangements. This is exemplified by the story of one Hollywood actor, Edward Furlong, who recently made headlines. There have been allegations in court documents that he exposed his young son to drugs. After a recent hearing, the judge appointed to the case kept in place a strict custody arrangement which severely reduces the actor’s custody rights.

A Massachusetts child custody arrangement depends on many factors. The most important consideration is always the child’s best interests. However, what is in the child’s best interests can be difficult to determine. Courts will look at which parent has been the child’s primary caretaker. They also take into consideration the mental and physical health of the parents and the need for a stable home environment. Additional factors include a child’s adjustment to his or her school and community, and any excessive parental discipline or emotional abuse.

Although not the norm, this case demonstrates the variety of factors that influence a court’s decision in a child custody dispute. An experienced Worcester family law attorney can assist those that are involved in a child custody dispute or are seeking to modify an existing custody arrangement.

Source: TMZ, “Edward Furlong allegedly exposed 6-year-old son to cocaine,” Dec. 17, 2012