Protecting Children from an Abusive Parent
Generally speaking, when spouses divorce the court will find that it is in the best interests of the children to maintain relations with both parents. But what if one of the parents is abusive? A mother who is sending her child off for a weekend with the father has reason to be fearful if he has a history of violence. A Bryan Child Custody Lawyer will help you if you are facing a problem with an abusive ex-spouse.
Recognizing Child Abuse
Children usually love both parents and want to spend time with them. If, say, the mother is abusive toward them, however, they may anticipate their next visit with no small degree of trepidation. Ironically, however, children may not reveal to the non-abusive parent that they are being mistreated. Often they feel responsible for the divorce in the first place, and may even feel the abuse is their punishment. Confusion, and even a sense of guilt, can result from child abuse. After all, the child likely still loves the parent and doesn't want harm to come to her.
The following are some signs to look for that signal abuse:
- External damage, such as cuts, burns, bruises, and broken bones
- Emotional changes, such as a diminished interest in things, loss of appetite, or depression
- Failure to care for hygiene, such as dirty hair, skin rashes, and odor
- Verbal changes, including sudden use of bad language or knowledge of sex beyond what is normal for the child's age
- Sudden drop in grades at school
What to Do if You Suspect Abuse
A Bryan Child Custody Lawyer will tell you that if the abuse appears to be physical or life-threatening, you should call the police immediately. Check your child for unexplained black and blue marks or welts.
You should also seek an emergency order which prevents the parent from having contact with the child. If the child is insistent upon seeing the allegedly abusive parent, and no such order is in place, you should return to family court and ask the judge for a modification of child visitation. The judge can order that the abusive parent may only visit the children under supervision.
Call for Legal Assistance if You Believe the Other Parent Is Abusive
Mental abuse can be as damaging to the child long-term as physical abuse. If you believe your child is being abused by your ex-spouse, meet with a Bryan Child Custody Lawyer to discuss a strategy for dealing with the problem. Call Peterson Law Group today at 979-703-7014.