The judges in Massachusetts look at what is in the child’s best interest. This is under General Laws, Chapter 208, Section 31, which includes the happiness and welfare of the children determine their custody. The judges, however, have a significant and broad discretion when determining custody or parenting arrangements.

There are a range of factors that the courts look at. One of the biggest factors is parental fitness; if either parent is unfit; the court looks at the age and gender of the child; if there is any history of mental, physical, or sexual abuse; if the child has any particular health needs; if the parents have physical, emotional or mental health issues; some of the religious and cultural beliefs; the bond or relationship between the parent and the child’s expressed preference.