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Proving Child Abuse in Family Courts

Child custody cases that involve abuse or neglect deal with some of the most harrowing matters. Because of the severity of what’s being handled, telling a judge that your child’s other parent is abusive is not enough to win custody.

If you are concerned about your child’s safety, it may be best to call the police and hire a qualified family law attorney to handle your case. Below, we explain what you can expect in terms of showing that your child has been abused.

What constitutes child abuse?

In family law, any activity or behavior by a parent that threatens a child’s physical or emotional wellbeing is considered abuse. Another lesser-known form of abuse is neglect, where a parent fails to provide for a child’s basic needs such as shelter, food, or medical care.

Signs of child abuse are not always easy to recognize and can be even more difficult to prove. We understand that protecting your child’s wellbeing is your priority, and fortunately, that’s the case for family courts. Judges take all forms of child abuse seriously, especially because kids are vulnerable and often unable to protect themselves from adults. Their main objective is to preserve a child’s best interest.

How Do I Prove that My Child Has Been Abused?

There have been numerous situations where one parent falsely accuses the other parent of being abusive to “win” their case. If you allege that your spouse or other parent is abusing your child, you’ll need to provide concrete evidence in court.

Your attorney will likely bring in relatives, neighbors, healthcare providers, and anyone else who has witnessed abusive behavior to testify during custody hearings. Circumstantial evidence is not enough. Medical records from your child's therapists and doctors are often used at a trial. Evidence of emotional harm including unusual behavior at home or at school and delays in development are critical. You should support this information with a testimony from an expert, counselor, or teacher about the child's mental health to convince the court of both past and potential harm. Additionally, showing your spouse’s history of domestic violence is relevant and will be taken into consideration.

Child abuse allegations must be handled with the utmost care. We understand this may be an incredibly stressful and frightening time for you and your family, but we are dedicated to making this process easier for you.

Contact our Columbia law offices today at (573) 279-1349 to schedule a consultation.