Legal Information: Massachusetts

Custody

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Updated: 
October 24, 2018

I am the child’s aunt, uncle, step-parent or other relative. Can I get visitation?

Maybe. If you have lived with the child, participated in the child’s life, and taken care of the child in a significant way, the court may decide that you are what is called a “de facto parent” and give you visitation rights if it is in the best interests of the child.1

A “de facto parent” can also be a person who has no blood relationship with the child, such as the same-sex partner of the child’s mother. A court may decide it is in the best interests of the child to continue a relationship with this de facto parent, even if the legal parent disagrees.2

1 See Youmans v. Ramos, 711 N.E.2d 165 (Mass. 1999)
2 See E.N.O. v. L.M.M., 711 N.E.2d 886 (Mass. 1999)