After a divorce, if you suspect your ex-spouse of abusing the children whether verbally, physically or sexually there are tell tale signs to look out for. This can often be a touchy subject and many parents may choose to turn a blind eye to events they may suspect or know to taking place. It is often not clear whether the issue is a family law or criminal matter. This article will attempt to first describe the symptoms that children may be exhibiting as the victims of abuse, and second, offer suggestions on legal recourse, whether it takes place in the setting of a family law court or is a criminal matter. Divorce is already and extremely traumatic time for the children involved, if abuse is also in the equation the children may have lasting psychological trauma that could impact them for their whole life.
Symptoms of child abuse include:
- Changes in behavior – The child may start to underperform at school or exhibit negative emotions, such as anger, hyperactivity or hostility
- Depression or loss of self confidence
- Withdrawal from family friends or activities in which they usually have been involved
- Reluctance to go home from school or sports activities
- Suicide attempts
- Rebellious behavior such as running way
One step you can take before consulting a family law attorney is to call a child abuse hotline. Such hotlines allow you to remain anonymous and you will be given advice on whether an investigation should take place. Many parents have concerns that the children may be taken away from the custodial parent, but these hotlines are completely confidential. If the abuse concerns don’t rise to the level of investigation then counseling for the child may be advised.
Another recommended activity is to keep a journal in order to record children’s behavior and comments. This journal may come in handy in the parent ends up in family law court.