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Relevance of domestic violence in child custody cases

During child custody cases, family courts in Massachusetts take allegations of domestic violence very seriously. They do not want to put a child in a dangerous situation. Courts will consider several factors when there are allegations of domestic violence, including the frequency and severity of the acts of violence, whether the accused person currently poses a danger to the other parent or child and whether there are criminal charges pending against the accused.

The court will consider whether the alleged violence was directed at the child and the extent to which it had an effect on him or her. It will also generally consider police reports and other evidence of abuse, including photographs. The court's custody decisions will ultimately be based on what's best for the child. Evidence of domestic violence is often considered in child custody cases. If the court determines that it is dangerous for an individual to be around his or her child or the other parent, he or she may be denied custody.

Occurrences of domestic violence may impact visitation decisions as well as child custody determinations. The court may choose to order supervised visitation and anger management or parenting classes. It also may issue an order of protection or a restraining order, revoke visitation rights or revise an existing visitation order. The court can also require that the accused person attend domestic violence counseling and otherwise attempt to promote the child's best interests.

People in Massachusetts who are approaching or going through a child custody case might want to speak with a lawyer. An attorney with experience in family law might be able to help someone by examining the facts of the situation and developing a strategy to arrive at the desired outcome. A lawyer might negotiate with the other parent, conduct depositions or gather and organize evidence in preparation for trial.

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