Stability is an influential factor in a child custody decision

A court considers many factors when making a child custody determination in Massachusetts, including any potential disruption to a child caused by relocation. Recent federal guidelines involving foster children in school districts provides context for how a court might view the importance of stability in a child’s life.

Notably, the guidelines reference the concept of a child’s best interest. Schools are now required to work with child welfare agencies in determining whether a foster child would be better suited staying in a school or moving to a new one. In the latter case, the school is also required to allow immediate enrollment to facilitate a move to a new school, even if the child is missing some of the required paperwork.

Finally, if the school district disagrees with the opinion of the child welfare agency, the guidelines recommend a dispute resolution process. Yet the two entities would not have an equal say. If an agreement cannot be reached, the guidelines grant the final say to the child welfare agency.

Modern family law courts recognize the potential benefit afforded by the influence of both parents. That typically translates into a legal presumption that a relationship with both parents is in a child’s best interests. However, a joint custody arrangement may not be right for every situation. We have experience helping our clients with a variety of child custody issues, including primary custody, visitation, or even concerns that one parent may have about the other.

Although differences in parenting philosophy might not present a serious obstacle, a court may look twice before awarding shared or sole custody to a parent with a history of substance abuse, untreated or unstable mental illness, or violence. To learn more about child custody in Massachusetts, check out our family law website.

Source: Washington Post, “How children in foster care could benefit from the new federal education law,” Emma Brown, June 23, 2016