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Child custody battle seeks to redefine the term "father"

In a story that may bring hope to Massachusetts parents who are struggling with custody issues, one man has just learned that he will finally get his day in court. The man, who recently learned the court will hear his case after winning an appeal, is fighting for custody of his stepson. The man, who believes himself to be the boy's father, has always been a part of the boy's life and now plans to exercise his right to child custody.

The boy's biological father passed away in a car accident before the child was born. The stepfather was present at the boy's birth and cut the umbilical cord. He later married the child's mother, but the couple soon thereafter divorced. Since that time, he has remained in close contact with the boy and is now fighting for legal rights. Because there are no statutes covering this type of situation, instances are addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Not long ago, the appellate court found that the boy's "father" had presented a connection to the child that mandated a superior court hearing. No decision concerning the custody of the child has been made, but his stepfather will be given the opportunity to fight for his rights as a parent. In cases like this, the best interests of the child become an even more prominent concern.

Child custody is an emotionally charged subject. Families facing child custody battles often find themselves at odds over what choices will be best for the children involved. The American judicial system is designed to address issues of child custody based on the individual circumstances surrounding that particular case. This is true for residents of not only in Massachusetts, but all over the United States.

Source: The Seattlepi News, "Ex-husband can fight for custody of stepchild-appeals court rules," Levi Pulkkinen, Dec. 6, 2011

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