In Massachusetts, judges evaluate a variety of factors to decide whether it is in the child’s best interests to have one parent as the primary caregiver. State law requires judges to investigate allegations of domestic violence prior to making a ruling in a child custody case.
Does the judge have to assume the claim is true?
An allegation of domestic violence will be treated as legitimate unless there is evidence to the contrary. A witness statement, note from a medical professional or testimony from an officer who performed a welfare check may be used to support or defend against the allegation.
What happens if you don’t have evidence to present during a hearing?
If you don’t have evidence to rebut the other parent’s claim, it may hinder your ability to obtain custody of your son or daughter. Without a defense to the allegation, the judge will treat an accused parent as a threat to the child’s safety.
An experienced attorney can work with you to submit medical records, witness statements or other forms of evidence to defend against an abuse accusation and demonstrate your love and commitment to your children.
You might still obtain limited parental rights
While you may not receive custody of your child after being accused of domestic violence, it’s possible that to be granted visitation rights and parenting time. However, it is likely that visitation will be supervised or take place virtually.
If you’ve been accused of domestic abuse, a Massachusetts family lawyer may be able to help you obtain parental rights to your children. Consider contacting an experienced family lawyer to discuss your options.
This post is for general informational purposes and is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Consult a Massachusetts attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail; however, contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.