Incidents of abuse, neglect, mistreatment, and domestic violence are unfortunately very common in American households. Millions of families and the children are impacted by violence each year. While physical mistreatment is usually obvious, emotional abuse is not. It is important to report any concerns that your child has been emotionally abused by the other parent to your divorce lawyer in Fairfax, VA during a child custody battle. Your attorney can offer insight as you gather evidence and bring this information to light in court.
What Emotional Abuse Looks Like
Abuse at an emotional level can come in various forms, such as belittling the child, threatening them, insulting, making fun of, or being completely indifferent to them. Emotional abuse can occur on its own or in conjunction with neglect, sexual abuse, and/or physical abuse. A child may also experience emotional deprivation if the parent doesn’t make them feel secure, worthy, wanted, or loved. Signs of emotional abuse can manifest either immediately after an incident of mistreatment, or after the abuse has gone on for many years.
If you aren’t sure whether your child has endured emotional abuse from the other parent, your attorney can provide more information on signs to watch out for. You may also want to get your child an evaluation from a licensed therapist and use this as evidence if the therapist believes abuse has occurred.
Examples of incidents that may be deemed emotional abuse include:
- A father who has a drug and/or alcohol problem and makes hurtful remarks to children when under the influence.
- A mother who is always at work or focused on job tasks even when at home, to where the children feel as though their parent doesn’t care about them.
- The child witnesses incidents of domestic violence between their parents or others who live in the home.
- A parent makes statements about how they wish their child was never born.
- A parent makes fun of their child for struggling with reading, math, or other school subjects.
How The Court May Respond to Accusations
If you report your concerns about emotional abuse to the court, they will request evidence and then perform an investigation of the claims. As your attorney may tell you, the family court judge is not likely to take these accusations lightly, and will see to it that your child is protected if needed. But, this means that you will have to present solid evidence about mistreatment that has happened during your marriage.
Depending on the nature of the emotional abuse, the court may determine that the other parent isn’t fit to have custody of your child. The court may necessitate that the abusive parent has a court-appointed social worker present during any visits, to ensure the safety of the child. Or, the court may affirm that the parent should not be permitted visitation of their child at all.
The family court judge may order the abusive parent to attend therapy, enroll in anger management classes, or complete a rehabilitation program. And only after the parent has shown significant improvements to their behavior may they eventually be allowed to visit their child without another person present.
Thanks to May Law, LLP for their insight into family law and emotional abuse.