Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

Abuse as a factor in a child custody case

Parents are charged with protecting their children from harm and providing them with the love and care that they need to grow. While most parents take these mandates seriously and sacrifice in order to give their children everything that they need, not all parents act with their kids' best interests in mind. An unfortunate number of Massachusetts parents commit abuse against their kids each year. Those parents may have their custodial rights threatened by the courts.

Parents who abuse or threaten their kids may have their custodial rights cut off. Courts may look for a pattern of abuse in a family law case before making changes to any existing child custody orders, but they may also rely on a single abusive event to justify a modification. Both a parent's physical and legal custody rights can be taken away if a court deems it warranted, which means that there's a lot at stake in these cases

A parent who believes that their child's other parent is abusive toward the child can seek to modify child custody or visitation in an effort to keep their child safe. In order to successfully do so, the parent will probably have to offer evidence of the alleged abuse and demonstrate how their proposed arrangement would be better suited to further the child's best interests.

Though a number of factors can be used to establish or modify child custody, abuse is a serious factor that can threaten the health and best interests of a child. When abuse is alleged, the courts will examine the matter carefully to determine what type of action is needed to protect the child or children involved. More help with this difficult family law topic should be sought from readers' own child custody attorneys.

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Susan Rossi Cook, Attorney and Mediator

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