What happens if there is a child visitation schedule established by the Family Courts and one of the parents gets a Restraining Order against the other parents?
A restraining order does not automatically trigger a parent to lose their child visitation rights, but it does raise a presumption of abuse. The court may at this time look at the preponderance of the evidence and determine if a pattern or serious incident of abuse has occurred shall create a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the best interests of the child to be placed in sole custody, shared legal custody or shared physical custody with the abusive parent. The law that covers this particular situation is Massachusetts Gen. Laws c.208 ss 31A. The court also has further discretion in its ability to provide for the safety and well-being of the child, while being visited by the “abusive parent”. The statue clearly explains the different remedies that the court may employ, in order to provide for the safety of the child.
Essentially, if you have a visitation order in place and are used by the other parent of your child and you receive a restraining order against the parent for abuse, this could be used in family court to stop or modify child visitation of the abusing parents. This is not triggered simply by obtaining a restraining order ex-parte, the alleged abuse of parent must be afforded the chance to represent themselves at a restraining order hearing. The court may use the evidence provided in the hearing and the fact that a restraining order was obtained to determine the necessary measures needed to provide for the safety and well-being of the child.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723