Sharing custody of your children with your ex will mean that you have to compromise on a lot of issues. You don’t necessarily get to see the children every holiday or birthday. You may have to come to a mutual agreement about their educational pursuits and sports involvement. Even religion may be a compromise, with the child attending two sets of services.
Most of the time, parents can make different approaches to raising their children work, but there are some things on which parents cannot and should not compromise. The safety and well-being of your children is one such issue.
There is a line that many people struggle to define between discipline and abuse. Can you protect your children if you believe your ex’s actions have crossed that line from appropriate discipline to physical abuse?
Do their actions constitute appropriate discipline?
You may be able to go back to court for a modification when your ex’s discipline is abusive. However, the courts will have to apply state law when evaluating your claims and whatever evidence you have regarding their disciplinary measures.
State law requires that physical discipline be reasonable and performed to correct or restrain a child. The state has laws defining what is reasonable. If your ex struck your child with a closed fist, shook a child under the age of three, prevented them from breathing, threatened them with a deadly weapon, threw, kicked, burned or cut your child, then their actions likely constituted child abuse rather than legally-permissible physical discipline.
Essentially, any action that could cause serious physical harm or leave a lasting mark could violate state laws. If your children reported abusive violence or came home with marks from the alleged discipline, then you may need to intervene to protect your children.
How do you prepare for a modification hearing?
If you believe that spankings that have left bruises or other forms of aggressive discipline have done more harm than good for your children, you can go to court to ask to change your parenting plan. You could impose limitations on the discipline applied or even ask for more time so that your ex has less access to the children.
Keeping records of each incident, including what the child has happened and images of any injuries they suffered, will help you when you go to court over allegations that so-called discipline was actually child abuse. Understanding custody laws will make it easier for you to protect your kids from an ex whose discipline is too violent.