Can I Prevent My Ex From Spanking Our Child?

A mother hugs her small child as she drops him off at school

The method utilized by you and your co-parent to discipline your child can be one of the most debated topics among co-parents. However, it is important to note your differences prior to entering into a parenting plan to ensure you and your Orlando Child Custody Attorney can develop an agreement that both parents are accepting of and maintain your child’s best interest. If you are having issues regarding discipline techniques used by your co-parent or developing a cohesive parenting plan contact an experienced Orlando Child Custody Attorney today.

In Florida, the state provides significant safeguards and implementation of criminal statutes to avoid any form of abuse of a child or adult. These statutes, generally involve prohibition of assault, battery, or any physical harm to a child or family member. However, these laws provide caveats where discipline of a child is involved. The law allows for parents to maintain a right to discipline their child in a reasonable manner, including physical methods, such as spanking. These forms of discipline are generally referred to as corporal punishment. These two provisions draw on the connection and division of the constitutional provision of freedom to raise your child outside of government intervention, and the government’s right to protect vulnerable populations such as children.

However, there are limitations to a parent’s right to punish their child in the form of corporal punishment. If the spanking, or corporal punishment results in harm to the child, further action may be taken by a co-parent to seek court action preventing the parent from using such techniques on the child, or even criminal penalties. The court has previously held that the harm need not only be broken bones, or bruises, but also may include mental or emotional harm as well.

If your child has come to you with physical injuries or discussed their fear of returning to their other parent’s home due to the physical punishments, they have received, bring this to the attention of your Orlando Child Custody Attorney immediately. Emergency action may be taken in your case in the form of involvement of law enforcement or filing an Emergency Motion Withholding Visitation. This motion would provide the court with the allegations of abuse that were further then allowed by corporal punishment, and the trauma or harm the child has endured from such abuse. The court will hold a hearing on the matter and determine the validity of the allegations. If the court finds that this method of punishment has resulted in harm to the child, they may modify the parenting plan to prohibit such corporal punishment, require supervised visitation between the parent and child, or remove visitation from the parent altogether.

Protecting your child is one of your highest priorities as a parent and you can do that through adding certain provisions into your parenting plan regarding discipline. If no provisions are in your parenting plan and an instance regarding such punishment results in your child’s physical or emotional harm, you may seek court action through an emergency motion to protect your child. Contact an Orlando Child Custody Attorney to discuss your specific concerns and what steps you may need to take.

Speaking to an attorney at our Orlando office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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