Can a parent who committed domestic violence get custody or visitation?
When making a decision about custody or visitation, a judge will look at evidence of abuse (as defined by the law)1 by either parent against:
- the other parent of the child;
- the parent’s spouse; or
- any child living with the parent, including a child other than the child who is the subject of the custody or visitation proceeding.
If the judge believes that a parent has abused any of these people, the judge should decide the custody/visitation order in a way that best protects the child in the custody case and the adult who was abused.2
A parent who has been found guilty of murdering the child’s other parent, another child of the parent, or any family member living with either parent or the child is generally not allowed to have custody or visitation of the child (although there may possibly be some exceptions). However, if the judge thinks it is in the best interest of the child, s/he can order supervised visitation that protects the safety and emotional well-being of the child.3
1 Md. Code, Fam. Law §§ 9-101.1(a); § 4-501(b)(1)
2 Md. Code, Fam. Law § 9-101.1(b),(c)
3 Md. Code, Fam. Law § 9-101.2