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You’ve finalized the divorce process and are ready to move on with your life. Unfortunately, if you have kids, the complications are far from over. No matter the nature of your parenting plan, you’re likely to run into drama as new romances arise — and as a new mother or father figure enters your child’s life. While you’d like to think the best of your spouse’s parenting judgment, there’s never any guarantee that your ex’s new boyfriend or girlfriend is worthy of spending time with your kids.

Watch For Signs of Abuse

Have your children reported behavior in keeping with the common signs of abuse? Don’t take your child’s claims lightly.

Remember, abuse can take many forms, including physical, emotional, and sexual. Even if your child fails to speak up, vigilance is necessary; just because it isn’t mentioned explicitly doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Keep an eye out for the following:

  • Bruises or scratches
  • Withdrawal from beloved people or activities
  • Rebellious behavior or other sudden changes in attitude
  • Self-harm or threats of suicide

Evidence of abuse can be difficult to come by, especially if you rarely see your child. Consider scheduling an appointment with a trusted doctor or therapist, who can determine whether your child displays physical or mental signs that indicate abuse.

Seek Ex Parte Custody

If you or a professional have been informed of or observed key signs of abuse, don’t wait for the problem to get worse. Depending on your situation, ex parte custody may be available. Often referred to as ’emergency custody,’ this temporary arrangement could allow you to take custody of your child until a permanent solution is secured. While temporary orders are not technically intended to deny parenting time, such denials can occur if the court determines that parenting time could ultimately harm your child.

If your ex’s partner has harmed your kids, it is absolutely imperative that you seek help as soon as possible. The law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. can act as your advocate during this difficult time; reach out today to learn more.