How can domestic violence impact a child custody case in Massachusetts?

couple arguing about divorce

Unfortunately, domestic violence occurs in far more relationships than you may realize. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding domestic violence. Due to stigmas and media depictions, many people have a skewed idea of what domestic violence actually is. Read and speak with a Mansfield child custody lawyer on to learn more about what constitutes domestic violence, what to do if you are a victim of domestic violence, and how domestic violence can impact a child custody case in Massachusetts.

How is domestic violence defined?

It is important to know that, while many people assume domestic violence refers exclusively to physical violence, there are actually many different forms of domestic violence, including emotional violence, financial violence, and sexual violence. It is also important to note that anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, regardless of age, gender, sex, or sexuality, and more.

What if I am the victim of domestic violence?

If you are the victim of domestic violence in Massachusetts, you may be eligible for a restraining order. A restraining order works to limit contact between the victim and the abuser. If you and your abuser share children, the restraining order can also extend to your children. In order to obtain a restraining order, it is important to visit your local family court or police station right away.

How is child custody determined in Massachusetts?

There are a number of factors that impact child custody arrangements. Some of these factors include:

  • The stability of both homes
  • The child’s needs
  • The child’s preferences if he or she is of a certain age
  • The parent’s financial status
  • Any history of domestic violence

How does DV impact child custody?

In Massachusetts, judges often work to ensure that both parents are granted some form of custody. However, it is important to understand that the courts are working to do what is in the child’s best interest. If a parent is endangering a child, he or she will more than likely lose custody. That being said, you will have to provide proof that your child is in danger/a victim of abuse. In order to prove that your child is in danger, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help provide evidence of abuse. You should be sure to record all instances of abuse.

For example, record threatening or angry phone calls from your child’s other parent, screenshot text messages, and keep voicemails. If your child sustains any injuries, be sure to take pictures of these injuries. Additionally, be sure to take him/her to the doctor right away. This will help ensure that your child receives the proper medical treatment, both physically and emotionally. An attorney may be able to access additional evidence out of your reach, including surveillance camera footage, police reports, private text messages, and more.

If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic violence, our firm will advocate for you. Reach out as soon as possible. Our team of experienced attorneys is here to fight for you and your family.