What if I think my ex-spouse has been abusing my child?
This is one of the hardest issues that arise in a divorce, and there are no easy answers. Frequently, if you suspect abuse, the child you are worried about is too young to tell you what is really going on. Abusive parents don’t have horns by which you can point them out to the court – and often the more a parent is convinced the other parent is hurting a child, the less the court will believe them. These situations are the archetype of lose-lose. Every judge knows of at least one case where a crazy parent went on a decades-long crusade to prove the parent was a monster and unfortunately, that is what the judge will have in the back of his or her mind when you bring up your suspicions.
It is impossible to know what is going on behind closed doors, and the best advice you can get is often to put the child into therapy and hope a neutral third party will either calm your fears or will see what you see.
The best you can do for your child is be warm, loving and supportive and keep in mind that the most predictable result of making an allegation of abuse – without physical proof – is that your parenting time will be lessened by the court. Several research studies have found that result.