There is corporal punishment, and then there is abuse. As a parent, it is hard to know where child protective services and the family court system draws the line. If you are concerned that your ex-spouse is abusing your children, then you need to consult a family law attorney. He or she can help you determine if there is valid concern and whether or not you should pursue the issue.

Recognizing the Difference Between Abuse and Corporal Punishment

In the U.S., corporal punishment, a.k.a., spanking, is still an acceptable form of child punishment. However, spanking can quickly turn abusive if the parent applying it uses too much force, uses objects other than his or her open hands to strike, or uses it in anger when the child has done nothing wrong. When spanking leaves the child badly bruised, cut, and/or bleeding, it is no longer corporal punishment, but abuse.

States That Have Bans on Spanking

Currently, all fifty states allow spanking in the home, but twenty-seven states have banned spanking in schools. The vast majority of schools that still allow teachers to spank misbehaving pupils are in the Southern half of the U.S. This means that parents have a right to spank their children and can choose to spank, but they cannot beat them. Some family court officials see it as a fine line, and it may be difficult for you to prove that your ex-spouse is beating your children rather than just using corporal punishment.

Medical Records and Doctor's Professional Opinions Are Important

When you are concerned about the punishment your children receive in your ex's care, the child's behavior, medical records, trips to the emergency room, and doctor's professional opinions are all important. They can help you uncover the truth about your children's situation when they are with your ex. Also be aware that most physical abuse is almost always focused on one child, and when that child is not present, an abuser will find a substitute.

Finding a Family Law Attorney Who Can Properly Assess Your Situation

Not knowing if you have a case against your ex for child abuse is a real emotional struggle. When your children are not beaten bloody, but they say that their mom or dad hits them, it is hard to know if they are just stirring up trouble because they do not like to be spanked, or if your ex really is hitting them in an abusive manner. Find and speak to a family lawyer who is well-versed in this area. He or she can look at the evidence you have compiled and tell you whether or not you should sue for full custody of your children in order to keep them safe.

For more information, contact Mills & Mills Law Group or a similar firm.