Can You Keep An Emotionally Abusing Parent Away From Your Child?

Posted on: 30 October 2017

Emotional abuse is no less damaging to a child than physical abuse. When a parent is given visitation rights by the family court, it is because the judge feels that he or she is emotionally capable of taking care of the child. If that changes, as the custodial parent, you can take action.

Can You Deny Visitation?

Although the situation might seem urgent, you cannot deny visitation to the non-custodial parent even if your child is being emotionally abused. Failing to follow the child custodial order could lead to the non-custodial parent requesting that you be held in contempt of court.

The judge might be reluctant to take action the first time and give you a chance to follow the order, but it is unlikely that a second complaint from the non-custodial parent will not result in a punishment for you. Therefore, it is important that you act quickly if your child is being emotionally abused by the other parent.

Some custodial parents still choose to deny visitation even though they know the consequences. If you do, there is a possibility that the non-custodial parent could ask the court for custody of your child. If the judge grants the other parent's petition, you could be faced with sending your child to live with the other parent.

What Can You Do?

Instead of risking your freedom or your access to your child, you need to file an emergency petition with the court. The judge could issue an injunction that would temporarily prevent the non-custodial parent from having visitation. A hearing to review the custodial order will be scheduled.

To convince the judge that the injunction is warranted, you will need to present evidence about the abuse. For instance, if your child is in therapy, the therapist could write a statement attesting to what he or she has heard from the child. The therapist could even testify. If you have friends or family that witnessed the abuse, they could also provide testimony that could help your case.

It is important to note that the judge will likely limit the review to the period since the custodial order was initially issued. Even if the court was not privy to certain evidence before the order was issued, recent events will likely be the focus.

Work with your family law attorney to find legal ways to protect your child. Your attorney can file the necessary documents with the court to request an injunction and can help build the case for a revision of the custodial order.