When a couple decides to divorce or separate, one of the issues the court will need to make a ruling on is child custody. During the ruling, one parent may get full custody of the child while the other gets visitation rights. However, it is important to understand that child custody is not cast in stone. Either parent may petition the court to review and modify the existing custody arrangement based on a number of factors.
One of the reasons the court will consider modifying custody is child abuse. However, like in any legal matter, you must support your abuse claim with facts. As such, if you suspect the other parent is abusing your child, it is important that you collect as much evidence as possible for your petition. And since a child is involved, it is crucial that the child’s wellbeing is not harmed while collecting this evidence.
What constitutes abuse?
At the very basic, child abuse refers to any physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or neglect of a child by either parent. Any action, or inaction, that results in harm or possible harm to the child can be sufficient grounds for petitioning the court to modify the existing custody arrangement.
Proving your child abuse claim in court
The first step in proving child abuse is to document everything. Be sure to keep a journal of any physical injuries or behavior that signifies the child might be in distress. Where possible, take photos and videos as well. When you take the child for treatment, be sure to notify the doctor of the origins of these injuries so they can be captured in the child’s medical report.
Establishing the credibility of your information
Before bringing your child abuse claims to the attention of the court, it is important that establish the credibility of your source. Was it the child? Their teacher? A neighbor? Or, a friend? Establishing the validity of your information is crucial as this will save you from a potential defamation claim.
Child abuse is a serious matter. If you suspect that your ex is abusing your child, it is important that you take immediate steps to petition the court for custody modification.