How To Protect The Children From An Abusive Or Reckless Ex


If you have legitimate fears that ex's (or soon-to-be ex's) behavior could harm your children, you have three basic options to deal with it.

1. Encourage the ex to get counseling, substance abuse treatment, or parenting classes.

Your first step could be to encourage the person to take steps to be a better parent (unless the situation is too serious for a time delay). You will need to keep a record and collect evidence of their behaviors so that when you do talk to them, you can cite specific examples instead of being too general for them to get the point.

If you confront your ex with solid evidence of their problems, this may cut through their denial and rationalizations and motivate them to get the assistance they need to parent effectively.

However, if this fails, your record and evidence will be important if you need to get child protective services involved when you are talking to your lawyer about custody issues or when and if the court has to intervene.

2. File For sole custody and get supervised visitation for the other parent.

You may need to fight for sole legal/physical custody and/or supervised visitation of your children to protect them. This would require you to have some proof that the ex's behavior is endangering the children and that you would provide a safe and healthy environment for your children. This could be challenged at a later date if the ex can show that they have "cleaned up their act," so to speak.

Things that would weigh against the other parent include:

  • Current proof that the parent has a significant substance abuse problem that interferes with their ability to parent effectively.
  • Current proof that the parent acts abusively, either physically or mentally, towards the children such as photographic evidence of injuries, witness testimony, or video.
  • The parent is not capable of providing a safe environment for the children to stay or visit in.

3. Have the person's parental rights terminated.

Finally, you may have to seek termination of the ex's parental rights. This may be ordered when:

  • There are past or present criminal felony charges of child abuse, child endangerment, or neglect against the other parent.
  • The evidence is that the parent has long-standing chronic mental illness or substance abuse problems that jeopardize the children.
  • The parent does not acknowledge paternity and/or has never shown any interest in the child/children.
  • The parent has abandoned the children.
  • The parent refuses to provide support for the children.

This is most likely going to be a permanent state of affairs because most states do not have a provision for reinstatement of parental rights in these situations.

For specific legal advice to help you protect your children in an unhealthy or unsafe situation, you should contact a family law attorney such as Margit M. Hicks, PA Attorney at Law.


12 August 2015

family attorneys - what do they do?

Family attorneys are hired to help families through all sorts of things. Everything from divorce, child custody and adoption can be handled by a family attorney. If you are planning to adopt a child, you will need an attorney to help ensure that everything goes well. There are so many documents that need to filed, inspections to be performed and approvals to receive. This blog will cover all different kinds of cases and situations that a family attorney may be able to help your family with. Everything from the good to the bad will be discussed right here on my blog.