Parental child abuse and neglect are serious matters. They generally concern both family-related and criminal areas of law. As a result, it can be difficult to know exactly how to proceed if you suspect that your child’s other parent may be abusing or neglecting him or her. If you believe your child to be in immediate danger, please speak with law enforcement first before phoning an attorney. But if you do not believe that your child is in immediate danger, you may choose to speak with an experienced family law attorney first before determining whether it makes sense to report your child’s other parent to law enforcement authorities.
Speaking with an attorney about your questions and concerns may be helpful for a number of reasons. Neglect and abuse are legally-specific terms. Therefore, receiving some clarification regarding what kinds of behavior meet this legal threshold can be valuable. Judges tend to frown upon parents who characterize their child’s other parent as abusive or neglectful when their behavior (although possibly less than ideal) does not infringe upon either the child’s rights or a co-parent’s rights under the law.
With that said, if your child’s other parent is behaving in ways that are legally unacceptable, an attorney can help you to protect your child and hold the abusive and/or neglectful party accountable. In addition, if your situation encompasses a “grey area” in which your co-parent is not behaving in your child’s best interests but isn’t necessarily being abusive or neglectful, an attorney may be able to help you mediate, negotiate or formally request a modification to your child’s custody orders. As child custody matters are determined according to the “best interests of the child” standard, this pathway forward may be appropriate under a myriad of circumstances.
If you have serious concerns about the way that your co-parent is treating your child, please do not hesitate to contact an attorney and/or the police. If your child has marks on his or her body, please make sure that you speak with your attorney about properly documenting this evidence. And if your child voices serious concerns, even if you do not initially suspect them to be completely true, please seek legal counsel before dismissing his or her story.
Legal Guidance Is Available
If you are concerned that your child’s other parent may be abusing or neglecting your child, please do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney. Your child’s safety is of paramount concern. It is important to understand that speaking with child custody lawyers in Rockville, MD does not commit you to take legal action. But it will help you to learn about your options and allow you to make truly informed decisions. When appropriate, an attorney can also help to connect you with any outside resources that may help your child. Suspecting that your child may be in trouble is an excruciating situation. Please know that you do not have to navigate it alone.
Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into family law and child neglect or abuse from the other parent.