Unfortunately, the situation that abuse, either physical or emotional, is occurring on behalf of one of the parents during their parenting time, is a common concern. Sometimes the child will indicate that the abuse is occurring and other times the parent will pick up on queues that the child is giving to indicate something harmful is happening during their visits. The issue becomes making a unilateral decision to stop visitation which the Courts would most likely have an issue with. There are, however, a couple of other ways to restrict or modify visitation that would be proper.
- If there is some kind of substantiated evidence that physical abuse has occurred, you could make a report to DCFS and file a motion or emergency motion to restrict visitation during the pendency of the DCFS investigation;
- You can file a motion for a Child Representative or Guardian Ad Litem to be appointed and determine what is in the best interests of the child in terms or parenting time and allocation and if the Child Rep or Guardian Ad Litem suspects abuse from either party, they would indicate that to the Court;
- You can file a motion for the Court to Order therapy for all parties or between the child and the parent suspected of abuse and have the focus be on the difficulty in the relationship. Therapists are mandatory reporters so if there is any abuse suspected, they will have to report it.
Hopefully this will not be a situation you find yourself in but if you do, it is best to talk to your attorney (if you have one) regarding the specific facts in your case or file a motion so that you can appear before the Court and have them order services that they think are best suited for your case.