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The Best Interests Legal Standard: December 2012 Archives

The Best Interests Legal Standard

Often we hear about the best interests legal standard that Judges in the Probate and Family Courts apply to make important decisions affecting the lives of minor children.  Custody determinations and appropriate parenting plans are based on this guiding principle.  Contrary to common belief, the "best interests" standard is gender-blind.  M.G.L. Chapter 208, Section 31 provides that in determining the question of custody "the rights of the parents shall . . . be held to be equal."  In deciding issues involving custody, the overriding concern of the Probate and Family Court Justice assigned to the case must be the promotion of the best interests of the children and their general welfare, not the gender, feelings or wishes of a particular parent. 

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