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February 24, 2020

Massachusetts Highest Court Issues Strong Domestic Violence Ruling

In a recent opinion from its highest court, Massachusetts unequivocally confirmed that domestic violence must always be considered in custody cases, regardless of when it took place. DV LEAP was among several organizations to file an amicus brief at the behest of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to address this issue, and it is one that we have argued in support of survivor parents all over the country. 

The opinion's definitive language, that judges "must consider evidence of both past and present abuse" and specifically including "evidence of domestic abuse that occurred prior to the entry of the divorce judgment" recognizes the critical relevance of domestic violence to children's best interests. While the survivor mother did not prevail, as the high court found the trial court adequately assessed the history of abuse, the case stands to promote children's safety both within MA and beyond, with the potential to serve as the guiding standard for family courts assessing domestic violence in custody proceedings across jurisdictions.

Read DV LEAP's Amicus Brief here.

Read Opinion here.

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