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What Can I Do If I Suspect My Child is Being Abused By Their Other Parent?A parent’s main priority is to protect their child, even if that means taking them away from their other parent. According to Childhelp, a report of child abuse is made every 10 seconds, and most abusers are family members or others close to your child. Whether you were never married, are filing for divorced, or are recently divorced, it is crucial to alert authorities if you suspect your co-parent of abuse. It can be uncomfortable and difficult to present your fears to the court, but this is the only way for you to take action for your child and protect them from their own parent. Courts typically lean towards keeping both parents in children’s lives, and it is a rare occurrence for a judge to give sole custody to one parent. However, accusations of violence and abuse make courts think twice about their parental responsibilities determinations to protect the child from harm.

Warning Signs of Abuse

The fear of making a false accusation of abuse is often enough to keep parents silent about their suspicions. If parents are not married and do not live under the same roof, it can be difficult for them to identify abuse with certainty. Look for the following signs in your child if you suspect that they are being subjected to abuse:

  • Extremely withdrawn, anxious, or fearful about making a mistake or doing something wrong
  • Frequent, unexplained injuries, welts, bruises, or cuts
  • Shying away from touch or flinching at sudden movements
  • Difficulties sitting or walking
  • Wearing inappropriate clothing for the type of weather (long sleeves on a hot day)

Possible Outcomes

There are a few ways that the court may address the accusations in order to protect your child. Depending on the evidence at hand, the court may be able to provide an immediate response and change to your parenting agreement. If you are divorced, this is known as post-divorce modifications. What the judge will likely decide as their initial response is to require supervised visitation for your child’s other parent. This means that they will continue to see your child but always have a designated supervisor present. This will allow the court to monitor their activity together and protect the child from any abuse that may occur behind closed doors. Depending on the extent of the abuse and the parent’s ability to keep a relationship with the child, the court will try to keep both parents in their lives to some extent.

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Open vs. Closed Adoptions: the Pros and Cons for Adoptive and Biological ParentsWhen prospective parents consider adopting a child, they often think that the biggest question that they will need to answer is where they would like to adopt their child from. They may be considering the benefits and drawbacks of adopting internationally or staying more local to find their child. While this is an important question to consider before making your adoption decision, one of the most life-changing choices that will need to be made is how involved you would like your child’s biological parents to be in their life. This is usually not fully up to the adoptive parents — the biological parents may wish to discuss this before committing to giving you their child. Some biological parents may not wish to be involved in their child’s life, while others may not be able to give you their child without the promise of a relationship moving forward. Whether you are the biological parents or the adoptive parents, you should consider the pros and cons of each type of adoption.

Open Adoptions

The level of openness with your adoption can vary from family to family. Some wish to simply exchange information so that the child can reach out to their biological parents if they would like, while others may create an agreement with the child’s biological parents to determine what their relationship will look like and how frequently they will communicate. For adoptive parents, this line of communication can be helpful whenever they have questions for their child’s biological parents. This could be about medical history, family connections, or anything else about the child that they could not know without the biological parents’ help. Having an open relationship can be difficult but important for biological parents. They may spend their lives wondering whether or not they chose the right family or hoping that their child would reach out later in life. Deciding on an open adoption eliminates these questions and can help the biological parents know that their child is safe and healthy.

Closed Adoptions

In closed adoptions, the adoptive parents will receive little to no information about their child’s biological parents or their background. This will protect both sides’ privacy and will not allow contact with the biological parents after the child’s birth and adoption. Many adoptive and biological parents believe this is the best arrangement for their child. It will eliminate any contentious or forced relationships that may be expected in an open relationship. It can also be difficult for the biological parents to see their child grow up in a home that is not their own. While they may have made the decision to give their child to another family, they may not want to see them live a different life. Closed adoptions are also a good option if the child’s biological parents are abusive or unfit to foster a healthy relationship with their child.

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