Child Abuse: When Divorce Is Made Even More Difficult
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By Allison Williams, Guest Author - March 02, 2017

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Child abuse, especially by one parent or the other is, without a doubt, reason to divorce and do whatever is in your power to remove the abuser from your child's life. It won't be an easy task but it's imperative you do so for your child's sake. 

 

If for any reason, you believe your spouse is abusing your children, then you will, of course, want to get away from your spouse as soon as possible, with divorce being a way to cut the ties between you both.

Unfortunately, because child abuse is something that is taken seriously, a lot of parents may be inclined to use this as a reason to divorce a spouse they no longer wish to be with without any evidence to back up their claim.

This can, of course, have a drastic effect on the children involved. If the abuse is founded and you do have evidence to back up your claims, then child abuse is very much acceptable for divorcing a spouse.

The first thing you will need to do in the case of child abuse is to protect your children first and foremost from what they have previously experienced. You can do so by getting out of the home you share as a family and taking the children to a safe place, which could be family, friends or a safe house for those that have suffered abuse at the hands of their spouse/parent.

There are different types of child abuse, and they can be triggered by drugs, alcohol and mental illness.

You as the spouse will know whether the behavior is out of character and caused by something else that may be causing your spouse to suddenly become abusive. Whatever the reason, it is your child who needs protecting, not the abuser.

Control is usually the reason behind physical abuse as it can cause intimidation and gives the abuser the power to do as they wish with their spouse and/or children. Children often feel fear in the place they should feel safest and from the parent that is supposed to protect them. They are not equipped with the coping mechanisms adults have so could react in different ways if they are being abused.

If a child that has faced abuse is displaying behavior that is not deemed normal for them, it is a good idea to seek help and a safe professional for them to talk about what is bothering them.

Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse can leave marks that people can’t see but can lead to effects that last throughout the life of the child. It can also be that children (especially males) repeat as they grow up meaning the abuse they felt continues when they find their own spouse and eventually have children. Emotional abuse may not even be seen as abuse at first, but it is as damaging as physical abuse.

If there is a genuine reason to think your child has faced abuse at the hands of your spouse (or anyone else), it is important to seek help for your child first and foremost by telling your local relevant authorities the concerns you have and why.

The next step once seeking help should be to stop contact with the potential abuser to prevent further harm until the matter has been addressed.

Unfortunately for the accused should there be allegations made, unlike other crimes they will be treated as a guilty party until otherwise proven. This can make it difficult to gain employment or continue in current job roles especially if working with children or vulnerable people. This is just one more reason no parent should make false accusations of child abuse against another parent.

The impact of accusations of child abuse can be extremely difficult to deal with for all involved parties including the accused, the child and the accuser. It may be advisable to seek therapy to help you through this difficult time.

The way child abuse proceedings impact divorce can include the accused having a damaged reputation. As well as the reputational injury, loss of employment can lead to monetary problems and most important of all, the relationship between parent and child can be damaged.

In other words, divorce due to child abuse is a difficult and painful process. If your child has been abused it is in their best interest to arm yourself with knowledge of how to handle the divorce process and, even more importantly, how to help your child heal.

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