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Legal Information: Massachusetts

Custody

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Updated: 
March 29, 2019

I am not the child’s parent but I took care of the child as a parent would. Can I get visitation?

A judge may only consider giving you visitation if you can prove that you were what is known as a “de facto parent,” which means that you took on the role of parent on a day-to-day basis. 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, 429 Mass.774 (1999)
2 See E.N.O. v. L.M.M., 429 Mass. 824 (1999)