Legal Information: Minnesota


May 10, 2022

Can a parent who committed violence get custody or visitation?

Even though the judge will consider the negative impact that domestic violence has had on the child (whether the abuse is against you, the child, or another person), it is possible that a parent who has committed violence will get custody or visitation. The law says that the judge must consider:

  1. whether domestic abuse, as defined by law, has occurred in either parent’s household or relationship;
  2. the nature and context of the domestic abuse;
  3. the implications of the domestic abuse on his/her parenting abilities; and
  4. the implications of the domestic abuse on the child’s safety, well-being, and developmental needs.1

If one parent has committed domestic abuse (as defined by law) against the other parent, there is a “rebuttable presumption” against that parent getting joint custody. What this means is that the judge will assume that both joint legal and joint physical custody are not in the best interest of the child. However, the other parent can still present evidence to try to change the judge’s mind and prove why s/he should get joint custody. In deciding whether or not the abusive parent has presented enough evidence to change the judge’s mind about joint custody, the judge will consider factors 2, 3, and 4 listed above.2

It is recommended that you seek legal advice from a lawyer to assist you in a custody case involving domestic violence issues. For information on how to find a lawyer see our MN Finding a Lawyer page.

1 Minn. Stat. § 518.17(1)(a)(4)
2 Minn. Stat. § 518.17(1)(b)(9)

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