For divorcing or separating parents, the law has several ways to protect minor children when a parent fails to act in the best interest of the child. They may be using poor judgment when caring for the child, be involved in substance abuse, or be abusive. If you are one parent trying to protect your child from the actions of the other, read below for some tips on coping with a scary and potentially dangerous situation.
- Everything about the care of a child when the parents are no longer together is the business of the family law court and that duty remains in place until the child is of age. While divorce provisions concerning debt and property are officially closed with the final petition, all orders pertaining to the child remain open.
- Whether the divorce is final or not, custody orders may be altered if warranted. In many cases, the judge will use temporary orders to adjust custody or visitation when problems arise. In the meantime, the parties can gather evidence to have custody changed permanently.
- The first step for the concerned parent is to involve the police. To show abuse or other wrongdoing, you should have evidence to back up allegations and a police report is a good way to start.
- Next, speak to a family law attorney. It can be your divorce lawyer or any lawyer that practices family law. They will file a motion requesting a hearing before a judge.
- If both parents are accused of bad behavior, the grandparents have the right to request temporary custody of the grandchild. In most cases, however, the behavior of both parents must be relatively reprehensible for that to occur.
- While the health and well-being of a child are important to the courts, so is the relationship of the child to their biological parents. Judges only reluctantly alter custody orders on a permanent basis. They will likely give the parent every opportunity to be a better parent. That can mean the parent is ordered to attend drug and alcohol counseling, parenting or anger management classes, and more.
- Unfortunately, things can get worse for some children and parents. Parental kidnapping can occur if one parent believes they deserve full custody of the child and they abscond against custody orders. Several laws have been enacted to help locate and prosecute parents who leave with a child.
Speak to your divorce or a family law attorney if you are worried about your child's safety.