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.
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