Contact the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) immediately to report the suspected abuse. If your child is in danger, you need to get him or her out of that household immediately.
Any time you involve law enforcement or DCPP in your custody case, notify your attorney. If do not accuse your former partner of domestic violence until you have sufficient evidence to do so and have discussed this evidence with your attorney. A false allegation of domestic violence can reflect poorly on you in future interactions with the court.
The suspicion of domestic violence is the only reason you can legally violate certain restrictions of your child custody agreement. For example, your custody agreement might state that you are only to spend time with your child every other weekend and one night during the workweek and that keeping your child beyond these time allotments is a violation of your custody arrangement. Keeping your child after a weekend because you have a reasonable suspicion that he or she will face abusive behavior in your former partner’s home is a valid reason to violate the custody order.
If the child is currently in your custody, bring him or her to the pediatrician for a full medical exam. If your child has been physically or sexually abused, your child’s doctor will be able to see and note the signs. The signs of emotional abuse can be more difficult to recognize.
After you contact DCPP about the alleged child abuse, contact your attorney to discuss your rights as a parent and the possibility of modifying your child custody order. You will need to file a motion with the court to reopen your custody case and determine a new custody arrangement for your child. You will need to prove that a change in custody is best for your child.
As the parent seeking the modification, you have what is known as the burden of proof. This means that you need to prove to the court that your child has experienced “changed circumstances” that make a new custody arrangement critical.
Contact The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. at (732) 365-3299 today to begin working with our firm. Your job as a parent is to protect your child. In some cases, this means taking legal action against your former partner. Schedule your free legal consultation with our firm today to learn more about the child custod modification process. We are a team of experienced family attorneys with an intimate knowledge of New Jersey family law. We are here to help you and advocate for you and your family. We proudly serve parents and families throughout Monmouth, Mercer, Ocean, Middlesex, and Burlington counties.