WomensLaw is not just for women. We serve and support all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Important: Even if courts are closed, you can still file for a protection order and other emergency relief. See our FAQ on Courts and COVID-19.

Legal Information: Puerto Rico


December 13, 2019

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 interest 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 interest of the child.  The policy also promotes the active participation by both parents in the life of the child(ren).1

However, Puerto Rican law requires that the judge take into account whether or not there has been a history of domestic violence when determining custody or “la patria potestad” (the rights and responsibilities of caring for the child(ren).2  Among other things, the judge should take into account if that parent has participated in a diversion program or has been convicted of any of the following crimes:  

  • abuse;
  • aggravated abuse;
  • threatened abuse;
  • abuse by means of restricting one’s freedom; or
  • marital sexual assault.3

You can find more information about the factors that a judge will consider on our page How will a judge make a decision with respect to patria potestad and custody?

1 32 L.P.R.A. § 3187(6)
2Id., 31 L.P.R.A. § 283
3 8 L.P.R.A. § 631-636