Child is 6, we have a court ordered 50/50 custody and parenting time. He lives with his mother. This week he came to school with a black eye and told that his mom hit him. Then he was interviewed by a caseworker who he ended up telling it was a dream or he thought it was. He's come to my house this weekend and I see the clear bruise and he did tell me it was his Mom. He said he was scared to tell the truth. This isn't the first time he's had black eyes, I took photos of past ones, this would be the 4th time. All the other times she had odd excuses and he was little and didn't talk alot. Can I file for emergency custody? What else should I do? Call the caseworker/DHS? I'm planning to do both monday.
You can request emergency custody but I think that, under these circumstances, you would have a hard time winning an emergency custody order, which is also known as an "ex parte temporary custody order."
In order to obtain a temporary custody order, you would need to show that the child is in immediate danger. I don't know that four black eyes over the course of a few years would satisfy that requirement but that analysis would need to depend on a private, more thorough discussion of the actual allegations.
As an alternative to an ex parte temporary custody order, ongoing abuse could present a substantial change of circumstances that might support modification of the parenting time arrangement.
In either event, you should probably talk to an experienced family law lawyer in your area. A brief consultation will help you figure out what exactly you want to accomplish, what your odds of success are, and how you would go about achieving your goals.
There is extensive research into the risk of contaminating testimony of abuse given by children by having people who are not skilled or who are biased (parents) do the questioning. It has been shown that children will start to say what the asker wants to hear if the questioning is not done correctly. I would be less concerned if there were other factors that support that the mother has anger issues but nothing like that is mentioned in your description although the 4 black eyes are suspicious, I agree. We don't know to what extent the school counselor and the social worker who questioned the child were specially trained.
What would be better would be for you to find a specialist nearby who is recognized as being an expert in questioning children in such a way as their answers are not responses to your prompting. Whether you seek an emergency order now, or later, I would get your son to a specialist who can work with your son and I would avoid being the one who questions your son along these lines. Rely on the specialist to tell you what your son is communicating instead.
I would also get a lawyer involved ASAP. What you don't want to do is raise this issue and later there turns out to be a perfectly reasonable explanation for the bruising.
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