Nothing is more important than your child’s safety. If you have good reason to believe your ex is physically abusing your child, you should immediately seek an order of protection and ask that all future visitation be supervised until further order of court.
But before you do that, you better be sure you have proof of actual abuse. Not only is this kind of fight very emotional, expensive, and ugly, but if your allegations of abuse turn out to be unfounded, you can be accused of trying to alienate your child from your ex-spouse. In that case, you could potentially lose custody of your child. As for emotional abuse, that’s a lot harder to prove — and to deal with. Judges are reluctant to harm the parent/child relationship. Most of the time, unless the emotional abuse is both well-documented and extreme, the judge will allow a parent to continue to spend time with his/her child without interference from the court.
Karen A. Covy, J.D. is a divorce attorney and family law mediator in Chicago Illinois . She is the author of When Happily Ever After Ends, How to Survive Your Divorce Emotionally, Financially and Legally.