When You Suspect Your Ex Of Child Abuse

Once your parenting plans are in place, you can heave a sigh of relief for getting one of the most complex issues of divorce out of the way. However, divorce provisions that have anything to do with a minor-aged child can be reopened at any time. Unfortunately, there may come a time when you must act to protect your child by doing that.

When and How to Act

Depending on what you already know about your ex, you may be keeping a close watch on the situation when your child spends time with them. However, it's important not to get too overzealous and make unfounded accusations the first time you notice a bruise on your child. Speak to your child and try to find out what is happening. Don't jump to conclusions but be mindful of a child that might be trying to protect their other parent at the same time. Consider the below signs that you need to take action:

  • Your ex-spouse has a history of abuse with either you or your child.
  • Your ex has a history of abusing alcohol or other substances and may be doing so now.
  • Your child seems reluctant to go on visitations with your ex.
  • Your child is having nightmares, is wetting the bed even after they were trained, has picked up thumb sucking again, or seems depressed.
  • Your child has mentioned that the other parent hurt them in some manner.

What to Do

It's tempting to keep your child from your ex when you suspect abuse. However, if you deny your ex their legal right to visitation, it could be you that ends up with legal problems. Here are some things you can do:

  1. Speak to your family law attorney about your suspicions.
  2. Begin documenting any signs of abuse by keeping a journal, taking photographs and videos of your child, and finding witnesses to the abuse. For example, ask a relative of your ex if they have noticed anything.
  3. Call the police if you have strong suspicions and fill out a police report. You will need this if you plan to take action to deny visitation.
  4. Call your state child protection agency and report the abuse.
  5. Attend a court hearing and have your ex's visitation rights temporarily suspended until the matter is resolved.

Speak to your family law attorney or divorce lawyer to find out more about protecting your child from parental abuse by your ex-spouse.