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My husband has joint custody of two daughters age 18 and 16. The mother has been physically abusive.What should we do?

Rome, NY |

The 18 year old is away at college. My husband's ex has been physically abusive to the 16 year old. How do we keep her safe? She doesn't want her mother to know that she told us what is happening.Apparently the verbal and physical abuse has been going on for quite a while and we are distraught. What course of action should we take?They have been divorced for 9 years and is very combative in simple discussions... now we found out some terrible things that are happening in the home. The poor girl loves her mother and knows that her mother will be very angry. We just want her to be safe.

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Attorney answers 1


I do not practice in NY but on general principles of child abuse and family law, I would suggest that your husband should consult with a local family law attorney to determine if there are steps he can take regarding custody to try to help his daughters be safe from abuse.

He also might want to counsel his daughters to talk with a trusted teacher or counselor at school about what is going on. The likelihood, though, at least for the 16 year old, is that the education professional is a mandated reporter of child abuse and would have to notify child protective services if s/he had reasonable cause to believe that the child is being abused or neglected.