Can a parent who committed violence get custody or visitation?
Possibly. While the judge will consider the negative impact that act(s) of domestic violence have 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 whether domestic abuse, as defined by law, has occurred in either parent's household or relationship; the nature and context of the domestic abuse; and the implications of the domestic abuse on his/her parenting abilities and 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, the judge will assume that both joint legal and joint physical custody are not in the best interest of the child (but 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 look at the nature and context of the domestic abuse; the implications of the domestic abuse on his/her ability to parent and its effect on the child's safety, well-being, and developmental needs.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)