Armstrong Law, P.C.

Domestic violence and child custody decisions

When there is domestic violence in the household, there can be lasting negative effects on the children. When processing a divorce in Massachusetts and figuring out child custody, the courts will look closely at any abuse report and take into consideration what is in the best interest of the child. When abuse is a factor in the decision-making process, the courts may grant supervised visitation to the accused abuser in order to keep both the child and ex-spouse safe.

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, domestic violence can have serious effects on younger and older children in the home. Some of the issues children have include:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increased levels of aggression
  • Social isolation
  • Confusion as to what is acceptable behavior
  • Loss of empathy for others
  • Decline in mental health 

The courts understand that when it comes to custody rulings, they need to take domestic abuse seriously. The General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts outlines that when there is a pattern of abuse, it is generally not in the best interest of the child for the abuser to get sole custody, shared physical custody or even shared legal custody. There are times in which the court may grant visitation to the abusive parent. For safety reasons, visits may include:

  • Supervision by a third party
  • Required attendance and completion of a batterer's treatment program
  • Overnight visit prohibition
  • Order for abstention from drugs or alcohol
  • Protected setting for exchange of the child
  • Bond requirement for the safe return of the child


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Armstrong Law, P.C.
287 Appleton Street
Suite 208
Lowell, MA 01852

Phone: 978-614-0965
Phone: 978-453-1044
Fax: 978-453-1055
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