Divorced spouses often deal with issues such as child custody, parenting time, and alimony. They may even pursue new relationships or remarry. In such cases, children must adjust to spending time with any new partners their parents may have. However, if your child is being abused by your ex’s new partner, it is not in the child’s best interest to have contact with that person, and the child should be removed from the situation. If you suspect abuse and neglect, there are several things you can do to verify that abuse occurred and protect your child.
If you believe your child has been abused by your ex’s new partner, it is imperative that you remove the child from the situation. You can ask your ex not to bring their partner around your child. If your ex will not agree, you may then have to contact child protective services or a skilled domestic violence law firm.
In New Jersey it is possible to file an Order to Show Cause wherein you request to have the child removed from your ex-spouse’s custody. Shortly thereafter, the Court will have a hearing to decide whether your son or daughter must have supervised visits.
Another option is to call Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCP&P) will typically accept anonymous information and staff will investigate the situation. DCP&P may remove the child from the home if evidence of abuse is found. DCP&P may also provide assistance in modifying your child custody order to ensure your child is not exposed to your ex’s partner. When asking the court to modify your child custody agreement, you must show a change in circumstances has occurred which warrants modification. Courts are hesitant to modify child custody and parenting time agreements; they require proof of child abuse, which may be provided by DCP&P and your child’s doctor or therapist.
Signs of Abuse
It is important to be able to recognize signs of potential abuse. While some signs of physical abuse are often apparent, other forms of abuse may be more difficult to identify. Here are some common signs of child abuse and neglect:
- Bruises or other marks on the child’s body
- The child seems depressed and no longer expresses interest in things they once loved
- The child does not want to go to your ex’s home
- Extreme changes in behavior
- Poor hygiene
- Untreated illnesses
- Running away from home
Talk to Your Child
Your child will need support during this difficult time. It is important to remain calm and provide reassurance. Here are some tips for talking to an abused child:
- Do not deny the child’s accusations
- Do not express severe shock or disgust
- Let the child know you are there to provide unconditional support
- Allow the child to explain what happened without interrogation
- Make sure the child knows that what happened was not their fault
If you do not feel equipped to deal with the situation, seek the assistance of a counselor, therapist and/or attorney.
New Jersey Domestic Violence Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Represent Victims of Child Abuse and Neglect
If your child was abused, contact an experienced New Jersey domestic violence lawyer at Lyons & Associates, P.C. We are experienced in handling complex family law matters. Our firm represents clients in Somerville, Somerset, Woodbridge, Mendham, and throughout New Jersey. To schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our legal team, contact us online or call us at 908-575-9777.