What kind of evidence do you need to prove child abuse in court during a divorce?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Los Angeles, CA

I am currently going through a divorce (I live in CA the ex in FL).
I know my daughter (5 years old) is being abused by her mother. She frequently spanks her and calls her names and curses at her. Her new boyfriend (whom she lives with) also has a drinking problem and my ex smokes around our daughter.
I want full custody of our daughter, but, from what I've seen, the court needs EVIDENCE. During one of my hearings I witnessed a case where a man seeking full custody showed pictures of his son with bruises and the judge said this wasn't enough evidence because it doesn't show the mother actually hitting the child.
This scared me, because I live in CA and it would be difficult to get evidence. I have family in Florida who have seen my ex hit our child many times.

Additional information

I also have pictures of my ex smoking around the child and the boyfriend drinking around my daughter. I am trying to get a video of my ex hitting our daughter, but it is difficult since I am so far away. I haven't called child protective services yet, because my ex has threatened to call immigration ( I am in the process of getting a green card real soon).
If I do ANYTHING to "screw her over" (as she puts it), she said she will call immigration. This is not an option, because I will basically never/rarely see my daughter again. What can I do to win this case?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Margaret Davalene Wilson

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Spanking alone is not enough to constitute child abuse. It depends on how and why it is being done. Smoking around a child in California is illegal but it may not be in Florida. Photos are great evidence. Also the testimony of live witnesses will help. It is not easy to get a father full legal custody. It is recommended that you hire an attorney that can help you in this process.

    Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is... more
  2. Harry Edward Hudson Jr

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Spanking or corporal punishment is not abuse. It is permitted here and probably in Florida [check w/FL attorney]. The ther issues you raise are problematic. Can yelling and screaming and cursing a child be a form of abuse? I think so, but when? Always? Probably not.
    Family can testify as to ex's behavior around the child. They could also contact the FL version of CPS. You can probably have the child seen by a counselor during one of her visits to CA.

    The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client... more

Related Topics


Divorce is the process of formally ending a marriage. Divorces may be jointly agreed upon, resolved by negotiation, or decided in court.

Child Custody in a Divorce

Child custody may be physical or legal. Physical custody covers who the child lives with, and legal custody is the right to make decisions.

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