Can a parent who committed violence get custody or visitation?
It is possible for a parent who has committed domestic violence to get custody or visitation if the judge determines that it is in the best interests of the child.
The public policy of Puerto Rico is to promote, as a first option, joint custody and both of the parents being responsible for the children whenever it is in the best interests of the child. The policy also promotes the active participation by both parents in the life of the child.1
However, Puerto Rico’s laws require that the judge consider whether or not there has been a history of domestic violence when determining custody or legal custody (“patria potestad”).2 Among other things, the judge should take into account if that parent has been convicted of any of the following crimes that are considered “domestic violence”:
- aggravated abuse;
- abuse by threat;
- abuse by the restriction of freedom; or
- sexual assault by a partner.3
You can find more information about the factors that a judge will consider in a custody case in How will a judge make a decision with respect to legal custody (patria potestad) and custody?
1 32 L.P.R.A. § 3181
2 32 L.P.R.A. § 3187; 31 L.P.R.A. § 7322
3 8 L.P.R.A. § 631-635