If the court awarded primary custody of your child to your spouse after a divorce and you are now seeing signs that your ex is emotionally abusive to your child, then you likely know how important it is to get your child out of their home and into a kind, loving one, like yours. However, you may also realize that you are up for a challenging child custody battle in court due to the fact that it can be much more difficult to prove that a parent is emotionally abusive to a child than it is to prove they are physically abusive. While physical abuse leaves physical wounds that can easily be captured in photos or shown directly to a judge, emotional abuse leaves emotional wounds that aren't visible to the eye.
However, you can win full custody of your child if you hire a good custody lawyer who can prove your case in court by provinge that your ex is emotionally abusive to your child in the following ways.
1. Request a Child Custody Evaluation
Your lawyer can request a child custody evaluation to help you prove that your child is being emotionally abused. A child custody evaluation is a multi-step process that begins when the judge appoints a professional psychologist to your case. The judge may first attempt to get your ex-spouse to agree to the evaluation, but if he or she will not agree, then the judge can order a custody evaluation that your ex will have to participate in to avoid breaking the law.
The judge may provide several psychological professionals for your ex-spouse and you to choose from, or they may allow you to choose your own psychologist to conduct the custody evaluation. However, if your ex-spouse and you don't agree on the evaluator, you may end up having two professionals, one you each choose, performing the evaluations.
The custody evaluator will meet with you, your ex, and your child to evaluate the psychological health of everyone. When speaking with your child alone, the evaluator will look for any signs of psychological abuse that your child displays. He or she may also watch your spouse interact with your child to check for signs of abuse during the interaction.
Of course, you likely expect your ex to be on their "best behavior" when they know they are being monitored closely for signs of emotional abuse while interacting with your child. However, the psychological professional will look for signals that are not controllable, such as a child's tendency to avoid eye contact or become unusually withdrawn when in the presence of an abuser, and note all of their findings to present to the court.
Finally, the psychological professional assigned to your case will make a custody recommendation to the court, and if they see signs that your ex is emotionally abusing your child, the odds are in your favor that you will earn primary custody of your child.
2. Hire a Private Investigator to Gather Evidence of Abuse
If the child custody evaluator is not able to gather enough indirect evidence that your ex-spouse is emotionally abusing your child, then a private investigator may be able to gather direct evidence. There are actually many private investigators who specialize in family law cases, and a PI with experience in child custody cases is a great asset to you if you can find one locally. Evidence a private investigator gathers is admissible in court as long as it is obtained legally.
The private investigator can snap photos, record video, and record audio of your ex and your child in any public place. If there are routine stops you know your child and your ex make throughout the week, such as a weekly trip to a favorite restaurant, then giving this information to your private investigator can help them gather evidence quickly.
If you suspect that your child's other parent is abusing them emotionally, then it is important to hire a good custody lawyer before attempting to prove this abuse to the court because it can be much more difficult to prove emotional abuse than it is to prove physical abuse. Your lawyer may suggest a child custody evaluation and/or the help of a private investigator to help you get your child out of the home of an abuser.