Home is where many Massachusetts residents feel safe and able to let down their guard. It is the place where they raise their kids, support their spouses, and invest their energy and time. Often the individuals who live in one’s home are the closest and most special individuals in their lives.
However, not all homes are safe nor are all Bostonians are secure in their household relationships. Domestic violence is a legal matter that can create physical, emotional, and psychological harm in victims. When domestic violence is suspected, courts may examine the relationship between the victim and the accused to decide if or how the laws should apply.
Domestic violence between family members
Some allegations of domestic violence occur between family members, and the state’s law provides a relatively broad definition for family. People who are or were married are family, as are people who are or were related by blood or marriage. Even individuals who share children are considered family, even if they did not have a substantive relationship.
Domestic violence between household members
Not all relationships involve legal unions like marriage or blood ties through family lines. Many people choose to live with their partners without formalizing their relationships. Under the law, individuals who live or have lived together can pursue domestic violence claims. One more nebulous area of the law, though, relates to individuals who are not married or living together but who have been involved in substantive dating or engagement relationships. A court may investigate the relationship between the parties before moving a domestic violence case forward.
This post should not be relied on as legal advice and all individuals involved in domestic violence cases can seek the support of knowledgeable Massachusetts-based attorneys. The facts of individual domestic violence cases will have bearing on their outcomes and legal help can provide guidance to those working through this difficult area of the law.