What Should I Do if I Suspect Child Abuse When I Share Child Custody?

Posted on in Child Custody

DuPage County parenting plan modification attorneyAs you may know, child custody issues can be an ongoing concern long after a ruling is made in court. From allocating parental responsibilities and enacting a parenting plan to coordinating court-ordered parenting time and providing for your child’s needs, continued custody of your child can be quite a balancing act, particularly in cases where you do not have primary custody. What is more, it is an even greater challenge when the other parent is irresponsible, uncooperative, or—in the worst cases—abusive. But how will you know if that parent is abusing your child? Here are some types of child abuse that can occur, the signs of child abuse to watch out for, and some actions that you can take to ensure the safety of your son or daughter, including modification of child custody orders:

Types of Child Abuse

Child abuse can extend beyond physical abuse in which a child receives burns, bruises, cuts, broken bones, or other impairments as a result of a parent’s actions. It can also come in any of the following forms:

  • Sexual—Any sexual activity with the child, including touching, intercourse, or creating or viewing child pornography

  • Emotional—The isolation or rejection of the child through belittling and berating verbal abuse, affecting the child’s self-esteem

  • Medical—Giving false information about a child’s health that results in incorrect or unnecessary medical care

  • Neglect—Negligence in meeting the basic needs of the child, including failing to provide sufficient food, healthcare, education, shelter, or supervision

Signs of Child Abuse

While it is not always easy to spot child abuse, there are some warning signs that are cause for concern. These include:

  • A child’s attempts to run away from home

  • Excessive absence from school

  • Lack of supervision during a parent’s parenting time

  • Behavioral changes, including issues at school, excessive anger, or hyperactivity

  • Major changes in mood, including depression

  • Rebellion

  • Self-harm or other suicidal behavior

  • Reluctance to go to one parent’s home

  • Social withdrawal

  • Loss of confidence

  • Anxiety or irrational fears

What to Do if You Suspect Child Abuse

First of all, if you suspect child abuse from the other parent, you should report it to the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline at 800-25-ABUSE (800-252-2873). If you suspect immediate danger for your child, then dial 911. If it is not an emergency, then you may be able to report the abuse online through the DCFS Online Reporting System.

In terms of legal recourse, if you suspect the other parent of abusing your child, you may be able to take the other parent back to court and ask for a modification of child custody orders. Possible outcomes of revised custody orders include:

  • Full custody granted to the non-abusive parent

  • Restrictions to the abusive parent’s time with the child, such as requiring supervised parenting time

  • Removal of the child from the abusive parent’s home

Keep in mind that it is incumbent upon you to prove to the court that these modifications are necessary to protect your child from physical or emotional harm. You can strengthen your case by gathering evidence of abuse and working with an attorney who can argue for an outcome that will protect your child’s best interests.

Contact a DuPage County Child Custody Modification Lawyer

If you suspect your co-parent of abusing your child, you may want to consider a modification to your child custody order. With the right Wheaton IL family law attorney providing guidance and assistance, you will be able to reach a positive resolution that will ensure your child’s safety for years to come. In addition to modification of child custody orders, Andrew Cores Family Law Group can also help with enforcing court orders and revising parenting plans. In contrast, if you find yourself being falsely or unfairly accused of domestic abuse and are at risk of losing custody, our attorneys can help you demonstrate that these claims are false and work to protect your relationship with your children. Contact us at 630-871-1002 for your free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/child-abuse/symptoms-causes/syc-20370864

https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/safekids/reporting/Pages/index.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743119/

 

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