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Best interests of the child in Massachusetts post-termination visitation

A primary concern governing the exercise of a court's discretion in deciding post-termination visitation in Massachusetts is making a decision which will be in the best interests of the child. Adoption of Rico, 453 Mass. 749, 754 (2009); Adoption of Vito, 431 Mass. 550, 557 (2000). Several factors are weighed in determining what is in the best interests of the child. Vito, 431 Mass. at 562.

One factor is whether there is a significant existing bond between the child and the biological parent with whom visitation is sought. Rico, 453 Mass. at 753-54, 758-59; Adoption of Greta, 431 Mass. 577, 588-89 (2000). "[A]n order for postadoption contact is grounded in the over-all best interests of the child, based on emotional bonding and other circumstances of the actual personal relationship of the child and the biological parent . . .". Vito, 431 Mass. at 562. According to a court decision, with older children "contact with a biological parent can provide support and continuity, and help the child deal with feelings of guilt and anger about a foster care or adoptive placement and thereby achieve a better adjustment to a new family". Rico, 453 Mass. at 757, n. 15.

Disclaimer: None of the information or materials posted above is intended to constitute legal advice. Viewing this outline does not constitute an attorney client relationship. Local counsel should always be consulted before contemplating any legal action. The above information is general in nature and should not be undertaken without the express advice of an attorney of your choosing.

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Rob McCarthy is an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, before the military courts of the United States, before the United States Court of Military Appeals and before the federal district court of Massachusetts. He is a former officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and was a candidate for the U.S. Congress from Massachusetts in 2010. He may be reached at 781-816-9001.

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