If you have true concerns for your child's safety, you must voice your concerns. But you should be aware that there could be repercussions.
What Concerns are Considered Legitimate by the Courts
Do you fear that the other parent could pose as a danger to you or your child? The court will treat the issue as a legitimate concern. Judges are usually careful to make sure that they thoroughly investigate allegations of threats, violence, abuse, and any other form of domestic violence before making any decisions in a child custody case.
This means that before a judge would grant custody or visitation rights to the other parent, the judge will investigate the accusations to ensure they are legitimate. Family protective services could become involved to help the investigation. The courts and/or child protective services may contact others like possible witnesses, neighbors, family, teachers, and others to help verify your allegations.
What to Do If You Are Accused of Making False Accusations
First of all, protect yourself by not ever making false accusations. There are several steps to support your story if the other parent accuses you of making false accusations, even if you are telling the truth. Let's face it, it's highly unlikely that the other parent would just own up to the fact that they were the abuser.
This is where documentation is extremely important.
If the other parent has physically or emotionally abused you or the child in the past, make sure that you have documentation. This can include:
Testimony from people that have witnessed and can speak about the abuse
Records of doctor or therapist visits from you or your child to treat symptoms of abuse
If you or your child continue to show symptoms of abuse or trauma you should go to a therapist or a mental health professional to be evaluated. A therapist or professional can review the case and give an expert opinion and support your claim of abuse. However, in disputed cases, a judge may order another professional or therapist to evaluate to get a second opinion. And, unfortunately, this could mean multiple exams, evaluations, and interviews to verify the abuse.
How to Protect Your Kids
If your child's safety or your own is a concern or fear about how able the other parent is to care for the child, immediately express those concerns and fears to the judge. If you have not yet filed for custody, then it is possible to file for custody in court, voice your concerns and fears, and present a case for sole custody and limit visitation.
And again, documentation is so important! You will need to provide evidence to support your claims. Evidence could be:
Recorded phone calls (check your state laws, and preferably consult with an attorney)
You can file for a protective order at the courthouse where your case will be handled, or the nearest family court. More than likely a temporary order will be issued if you have been abused or threatened and show proof. A final hearing will be ordered at a later date and possibly a final order will be issued.
Keep in mind, even if you have a protective order in place, there is still a chance that the other parent could violate the order. If, however, the order is violated, then the abuser will face consequences, including jail time.
As you can see in all of these steps, documentation can make or break your case. Make sure you have all your bases covered and keep your documentation organized and up to date. Having that ready will help you in all of these situations. Check out All of It Custody Binder. It makes documentation easy and quick. Look at it below.