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Domestic Violence and its Impact on Custody and Visitation in New Hampshire

Family being displayed in front of a gavel for custody and visitation article.

Custody and Visitation Introduction:

As a parent, your kids are the priority and you’re always seeking to provide them with only the best. But what happens when abusive behavior from your partner begins to affect their well-being detrimentally? Domestic violence is no minor issue here in New Hampshire; it affects numerous families and complicates child custody and visitation matters even further. In this article we will investigate how domestic violence can influence child custody and visitation rights within New Hampshire.

What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence, also known as intimate partner violence, is a pattern of behaviors used by one person to gain power and control over another person in a close relationship. These behaviors can include physical, emotional, sexual, and economic abuse. Domestic violence can occur in any type of relationship, including married couples, partners who live together, and couples who are dating.

How Does Domestic Violence Affect Custody and Visitation?

In New Hampshire, the best interests of the child are the primary consideration when determining custody and visitation. Domestic violence can have a significant impact on a child’s well-being and can be a factor in determining custody and visitation arrangements. Domestic violence can affect custody and visitation in the following ways:

  1. Impact on Custody: In New Hampshire, both parents have equal rights to seek custody of their children. However, if a parent has a history of domestic violence, it can impact their ability to gain custody. A judge may award sole custody to the non-abusive parent or limit the abusive parent’s custody rights.

  1. Impact on Visitation: If a parent has a history of domestic violence, it can also impact their visitation rights. A judge may order supervised visitation or limit the frequency and duration of visitation to ensure the safety of the child.

  1. Impact on Parental Decision-Making: If a parent has a history of domestic violence, a judge may limit their decision-making authority. For example, a judge may only allow the non-abusive parent to make major decisions regarding the child’s education, health care, and religious upbringing.

  1. Impact on Child Support: Domestic violence can also impact child support. If a parent has been convicted of domestic violence, a judge may order them to pay higher child support to account for the emotional and physical impact on the child.

What Factors are Considered When Determining Custody and Visitation in Cases of Domestic Violence?

In New Hampshire, the needs of any involved children are always put first when deciding custody and visitation. If domestic violence is a factor, numerous considerations will be taken into account such as:

  1. The Nature and Severity of the Domestic Violence: The court will consider the type and severity of the domestic violence, including physical, emotional, sexual, and economic abuse.

  1. The Impact on the Child: The court will consider how the domestic violence has impacted the child’s well-being, including their physical, emotional, and psychological health.

  1. The Abusive Parent’s Ability to Parent: The court will consider whether the abusive parent can provide a safe and stable environment for the child.

  1. The Non-Abusive Parent’s Ability to Parent: The court will consider whether the non-abusive parent can provide a safe and stable environment for the child.

  1. The Child’s Wishes: Depending on the age and maturity of the child, the court may consider their wishes regarding custody and visitation.

  1. Any Other Relevant Factors: The court may consider any other relevant factors, including the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s relationships with siblings and extended family, and each parent’s work schedule and availability.

What Steps Should You Take If Domestic Violence Has Impacted Your Life?

If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. In New Hampshire, there are several resources available to victims of domestic violence, including:

  1. Crisis Centers: New Hampshire has several crisis centers that provide free and confidential services to victims of domestic violence. These services may include emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, and support groups.

  1. Protective Orders: A protective order, also known as a restraining order, can be obtained by a victim of domestic violence to protect them from further abuse. In New Hampshire, a protective order can prohibit the abuser from contacting the victim and may grant the victim temporary custody of their children.

  1. Legal Assistance: If you are involved in a custody or visitation dispute and have experienced domestic violence, it is important to seek legal assistance. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options and can represent you in court.

  1. Safety Planning: It is important to develop a safety plan if you are a victim of domestic violence. A safety plan can help you prepare for emergencies and can include steps such as identifying safe places to go, packing a bag with essential items, and creating a code word to use with friends or family if you need help.


Domestic violence is a grave issue with far-reaching consequences for both parents and children in New Hampshire, particularly when it comes to custody and visitation arrangements. If you are being victimized or have been impacted by this type of abuse, seeking help can not only protect you but also your kids. Moreover, if domestic violence has played a role in an ongoing dispute involving child custody or visitation rights, obtaining legal advice should be considered essential–this will allow you to know what options exist that could increase the safety of all involved parties.

If you require assistance with domestic violence, custody or visitation issues in New Hampshire, then it’s critical to seek out a reliable and experienced attorney. At Boynton Waldron law firm, their attorneys boast extensive experience in family law cases involving domestic violence. By relying on the team of knowledgeable legal professionals at Boynton Waldron for guidance and support throughout your case, you can be sure that you’re taking steps towards protecting yourself as well as your children during this difficult time. Contact Boynton Waldron today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a safer and more secure future.


What is considered domestic violence in New Hampshire?

Domestic violence is any form of abuse, including physical, emotional, sexual, or financial abuse, that occurs between family or household members.

Can domestic violence affect custody and visitation rights in New Hampshire?

Yes, domestic violence can have a significant impact on custody and visitation decisions. The court’s primary concern is the best interest of the child, and domestic violence can be a factor in determining what is in the child’s best interest.

Can the court order supervised visitation if domestic violence has been proven?

Yes, the court may order supervised visitation or no visitation at all if domestic violence has been proven. The court may also award custody to the victim and limit or prohibit contact with the abuser.


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