Child custody cases in Massachusetts often take on unusual shades of meaning regarding paternal rights. In a recent case of an alleged rape, the state did not disallow paternal rights or privileges. While many rapists request such rights, the law frequently places obstacles in their paths that make them difficult to pursue.

The mother of a 21-year-old claimed here daughter was raped by a family relative when she was 14. The man, grandson of the victim’s mother, was tried but later acquitted. He has continually maintained his innocence and has brought forward a suit to be allowed parental visitation rights.

The girl’s mother has tirelessly fought a hightly publized war against this from happening, accruing thousands in legal bills. Public support has been dogged, with countless others applauding her actions to fight the court system to deny contact with a man accused of raping a minor.

Reports indicate more than 25,00 woman are raped in the U.S. each year, and there are advocacy groups who lobby for lawakers to provide more effective legislation to protect violated women who choose to give birth to the child and raise it. One of their causes surrounds a more efficient standard of proof, regardless of conviction. Traditionally the judge will exercise discretion to determine if the child were conceived during a violent act, and rule in the best interests of all parties, to determinate any paternal rights.

The judge would rule in a similar way given cases of neglect or abuse.

Courts in general favor the biological parents’ involvement in the life of a child. While some pressing circumstances may be skewed in one direction or another, any person embroiled in a custody suit needs clear guidance in the decision of what is in the best interests of the child. While the ultimate decision rests with the judge, there is a wide variance of discretion that requires you to have a strong legal presence in the ruling of your case. In many cases, parties involved do not always tell the truth. It is advisable to seek the help of someone familiar with the court system to receive the best possible outcome of your child custodycase.

Source: The Economist, “A question of proof” Jul. 19, 2014