If a Pennsylvania parent has concerns about his or her children’s safety during visitation with the other parent, he or she should discuss the concerns with the attorney and the court. The court usually investigates allegations of abuse before granting any parent custody, though it should be noted that there could be repercussions when making allegations of abuse.
When an allegation of physical or emotional abuse is made, the court and family protective services may step in to investigate before the custody of the children is granted. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the court or the family protective services may talk to the children’s teachers, extended family or even neighbors in order to verify the allegations. While the investigation is ongoing, the other parent may be granted visitation, though this visitation is usually supervised.
There is a possibility that the other parent could claim that a person is making false accusations of abuse. To support allegations of abuse, parents should document the events and include evidence of the events. For example, providing the court with police reports, witness testimony or medical records can help back up claims of abuse. Additionally, a therapist or mental health professional can evaluate the children to determine if a traumatic event occurred, and provide this information to the court.
Child custody cases can quickly become emotionally draining, especially if the one parent is attempting to use the kids to have continued control over the other parent. If there are concerns over the children’s safety when they are with the other parent, a family law attorney may represent a parent and help gather evidence that can be used to demonstrate to the court that the children’s safety is at risk. In some cases, the attorney may even help a parent seek sole custody of the children if the other parent has a history of abuse or violence.