If you had felt victimized during the course of your marriage because your former spouse was too controlling and abusive, your divorce may have given you some form of relief as it finally freed you from the hold your ex-spouse had on you.
But divorce isn't the same for parents who've managed to escape a toxic marriage. When there are kids involved, it's understandable for you to worry about their safety. If your ex had a tendency of resorting to aggression just to get their way, there may not be much that would keep them from lashing out at their kids as well.
Here are some steps you can take to protect your children from an abusive ex-spouse.
1. Make a Referral to DFCS
If you have reason to believe that your children are unsafe in the care of your former spouse and you've noticed signs of child neglect, you need to make a referral to Child Protective Services before it's too late and serious damage is done.
It's important to note that you need to be extremely cautious when you're deciding to involve DFCS in your family's life as they're going to assess the situation and then determine whether they need to remove the child or not. You may also become a target of their investigation if DFCS believes your actions are governed by your ill-feelings toward your ex-spouse.
2. Seek Child Counseling
You should also consider getting in touch with a child therapist who has experience with child abuse cases as they can help determine if your child's behavior is a result of abuse or trauma. They can also get your kid to verbalize what's happening to them and help them recover from the trauma they've experienced.
If your worst suspicions are confirmed, the therapist can then make the referral to DFCS as a neutral advocate.
3. Consult an Experienced Family Law Attorney
There are many family law attorneys who handle child custody cases. If you suspect that your child is a vulnerable position, it's advisable to hire an attorney who's experienced with matters involving child abuse as there are no guarantees that DFCS will take the right steps to protect your child.
A experienced attorney, on the other hand, who has handled child abuse and neglect cases before will be able to help you against the DFCS investigation and take the appropriate steps to make sure your child is taken out of harm's away.
As a parent, it's your responsibility to keep a watchful eye on your kids. If you have reason to suspect that your child is unsafe under the care of your abusive ex, you need to trust your instincts and seek professional help as quickly as possible.
We're a law firm that specializes in divorce and high conflict child custody cases. Call us at (404) 963-9452 to schedule a consultation and let us provide you the legal support you need to protect your relationship with your child.