Those who are divorcing with children have numerous hurdles to overcome as it pertains to reaching an agreement about child custody (allocation of parental responsibilities) and visitation (parenting time). The good news, however, is that once an agreement is reached, both parties are obligated to abide by the terms of the agreement. Unless there is a change in circumstances, the agreement is hopefully one that both parties can live with. However, if you suspect that your ex is abusing your child, you need to take action immediately.
What to Do if You Suspect Child Abuse by Your Ex
Suspecting child abuse can be a sinking feeling. Whether there is physical evidence of abuse (such as bruises on the child), or a feeling that something wrong is happening (your child is terrified of spending time with your ex), you need to take action. Some steps to take include:
- Documenting any evidence that you have of abuse;
- Taking photos of bruises, torn clothing, etc. on your child;
- Taking your child to a doctor or/and child psychologist for professional examination;
- Talking to your child about the abuse; and
- Calling the police or/and your local child protective services office.
If you believe that your child is at risk of imminent harm, you should call the police immediately and you should NOT allow for visitation to continue, even if this is a violation of your court order. While refusing to let your ex see your child is normally not a good idea, when it is done in order to protect a child from physical abuse, it is necessary. Taking such serious actions have serious consequences, so you may want to consult with an attorney regarding your situation.
Seek Modification of Your Child Custody Order
If there is evidence that abuse is occurring, and you have reported the abuse to the police or/and child protective services, there is a good chance that charges will be pressed against your ex. Either way, an investigation will be conducted. You can use the charges pressed against your ex or the investigatory evidence to seek a modification of your child custody/visitation order. If you can prove that parenting time with your ex will cause physical, mental or moral endangerment to your child with a high degree of certainty, a court will likely side with you.
Call Our Illinois Child Custody Lawyers Today
Suspecting that your child is being abused by your ex can be heartbreaking. If you are unsure of what to do to put an end to abuse and protect your child, please call our law firm for a consultation. We can help to guide you and assist you in modifying your child custody order and understanding your rights.
For your consultation, call us today or send us a message. Our lawyers serve the areas of Naperville, Downers Grove, Aurora, Lombard, Lisle, and Wheaton.