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How Domestic Violence Affects Child Custody Agreements

No parent or child deserves to experience abuse in their own home. Massachusetts law protects parents and children who experience domestic violence to ensure their safety. Depending on the evidence of physical or psychological abuse, a judge can grant full temporary child custody to the abused parent for the duration of the divorce process.

There are different methods that an abused parent can file for full custody to ensure the well-being of their children.

Filing for a Protective Order

The court can provide you and your child with a protective order to prevent further abuse. In Massachusetts, a protective order is also referred to as a restraining order or an abuse prevention order.

Restraining orders may include the following protections:

  • Restrain the abusive parent from contacting the other parent or child
  • Grant the abused parent custody of the child
  • Order the abusive parent to provide financial support
  • Require the abusive parent to attend a batterer’s intervention program

After filing a restraining order, the court will schedule a hearing within 10 days if the judge believes you are in danger. During the hearing, they might issue you a protecting order that lasts a year; however, the court may extend this period if they believe it’s necessary.

Domestic Violence Impact on Child Custody

Although in most cases the court will usually deny custody or visitation of a parent that has committed any physical, psychological, and/or sexual abuse, there are cases where a court might grant visitation rights. If the court allows visitation from an abusive parent, the state will take precautions to ensure that the child is no longer abused.

The court protections might include:

  • Ordering visitation at a third-party visitation center
  • Ordering the abusive parent to not consume drugs or alcohol 24 hours before visitation
  • Prohibiting overnight visitation
  • Appointing an attorney for the child
  • And any additional protection needed for the child

No matter what situation you face, the Longmeadow child custody attorneys at Miller Law Group, P.C. have the resources and experience you need to fight for the outcome you deserve. Get in touch with us today!

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