Signs of Child Abuse and Neglect After a Divorce
When you share custody with your former spouse, you may not control what happens when your ex spends time with your children. You are no longer living under the same roof, which means you cannot see how your ex-spouse treats your kids.
Leaving your children alone with the other parent is risky when your former spouse has a history of domestic violence, mental issues, an alcohol or drug addiction, or could otherwise endanger your child. However, if any of these issues are brought up during the child custody proceedings, the judge is required to consider them before issuing a custody order.
Signs That Your Child Has Been a Victim of Abuse or Neglect
If you can prove that your ex-spouse is guilty of abuse and neglect, the court is likely to modify the existing custody order and terminate the abuser’s parental rights. If you notice any signs of child abuse or neglect, do not hesitate to contact an Orlando child custody attorney right away.
Generally, Florida’s family law defines child abuse and neglect as any behavior that causes serious harm to the child, puts the child in imminent danger, ignores the child’s basic needs, or puts the child in unsupervised dangerous situations.
However, it can be difficult to know for sure whether your former spouse engages in any of these behaviors to prove child abuse or neglect. For this reason, it is vital to watch out for the following warning signs of child abuse and neglect:
- Reluctance to visit the other parent
- Unwillingness to talk about what happens during visits with the other parent
- Sudden and unexplained changes in the child’s behavior
- Being overly withdrawn or isolated for no apparent reason
- Being frequently absent from school
- Having unexplained bruises, cuts, black eyes, scratches, burns, and other injuries
- Rapid changes in weight
- Depression and anxiety
In addition to physical abuse, a child could also become a victim of sexual abuse during visits with the other parent. Watch out for the following signs that could indicate that your child has been sexually abused by the other parent or someone in their household:
- Bleeding or swelling in the private parts
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Having nightmares
- Having difficulty walking or sitting
- Suicide attempts
How to Protect Your Child from Abuse and Neglect by the Other Parent?
When you notice any of the above-mentioned signs of child abuse or neglect, document changes in your child’s behavior. If you have reason to suspect that your child has been a victim of physical or sexual abuse, do not hesitate to contact law enforcement right away.
Depending on the severity of the alleged child abuse or neglect, you can request a modification of the custody order or parenting plan to:
- Limit the amount of time your child spends with the other parent;
- Require supervised visitation until the accused parent can prove that they do not pose any danger to their child; or
- Limit or terminate the abusive parent’s custody or parental rights.
Speak with an Orlando family attorney if you suspect that your child has been abused or neglected by the other parent. Contact Greater Orlando Family Law to discuss your case by calling at 407-377-6399.