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What to Do If You Suspect Your Ex is Putting Your Child at Risk

Mother hugging her young son close to herDivorce is a painful experience for children. Even when divorce is the best solution for family problems, children are still left with feelings of instability that may negatively impact their physical, mental, and emotional health, their relationships, even their academic performance. Despite everyone’s best efforts to do what is in the best interest of the child, kids can feel as divided as any marital property and debts.

Child custody arrangements also take their toll on parents. Parents wonder what they are missing when their kids are with the other parent. They are absent for first steps, school awards, sleepovers, and broken hearts. But what do you do if you think your child’s health and safety are at risk when they are with your ex?

As a Certified Legal Specialist in Family Law, Karen S. Brown is painfully aware of the struggle her clients face when they believe their child is at risk. That is why she dedicates her time and legal experience to helping families in and surrounding Los Angeles County protect their children from harm.

What Circumstances Might
Put My Child at Risk?

There are many ways a parent can put a child’s health and well-being at risk. Of course, physically, verbally, or sexually abusing a child puts them at serious risk.

Neglect, which can take many forms, also places them at risk. Examples include:

  • Leaving a child unsupervised;

  • Not providing them with food and water;

  • Allowing them to consume things they are allergic to or affect their health, for example, if the child is diabetic;

  • Not changing diapers or bathing the child as needed; or,

  • Not seeking medical help if required.

Exposing a child to unsafe circumstances also puts them at risk. Examples include:

  • Exposing them to chemicals, including those in household cleaners, paint, and adhesives;

  • Abusing drugs or alcohol in the presence of the child or allowing others to do so;

  • Leaving firearms and sharp objects within reach of the child, or electrical appliances near sources of water; or,

  • Driving a vehicle with unrestrained children or driving recklessly while they are passengers.

How Existing Parenting
Plans Can Be Modified

Child custody, or “parenting plans,” can be modified after they go into effect if it is in the child’s best interest to do so. If you believe your ex is putting your child at risk, you need evidence to support your allegations when filing for a modification with the court. A judge may ask the child about risky situations if the child is capable of understanding and responding to questions.

In California, parenting plan modifications can be made by both parents agreeing to revised terms of the parenting plan and submitting it to the court. However, if your ex is putting the child at risk, it is likely they will not agree to modify the plan. In that case, you will need to return to court to present your case to a judge.

How to File for a Restraining Order

To protect your child and yourself from abuse, violence, and neglect by the other parent, you should take immediate steps to obtain a restraining order against them. At the same time, you can petition the court to modify the existing parenting plan and child support order.

You can file for a restraining order against your ex on your own behalf if they have abused or threatened to abuse you. You can also file for one on behalf of your child who is required to regularly live in the ex’s home. A judge can render a decision within one day, or sooner when warranted.

Let the Law Office of Karen S. Brown Help

For most parents, the health and safety of their children are always a top priority in their lives. Although you can protect your children when they are with you, you may feel powerless when they spend time with the other parent.

If you suspect your child is being put at risk by your ex, your first instinct will be to protect them by removing your child from that environment. Calling a family law attorney is a wise first move, especially one who understands the complicated issues that come with filing for a restraining order and modifying parenting plans and child support agreements in the face of abuse or neglect.

Karen S. Brown’s specialized legal education has earned her designation by the State Bar of California as a Certified Legal Specialist in Family Law. She understands the toughest issues facing parents and kids before, during, and after divorce. Clients from Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Beverly Hills, Encino, Studio City, Hancock Park, Santa Monica, South Bay, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Torrance, and Long Beach have benefitted from her experience and expertise.

If you suspect your child is in danger from the other parent, you simply cannot wait. Call the Law Office of Karen S. Brown now.