Good cause

A friend of mine is having an issue that is disturbing to say the least.

Her and “Dad” have a mediated settlement agreement for visitation and custody. But the child came back with bruise marks on its face and Mom immediately called law enforcement to have them evaluate the marks and photographs. Mom sent child with dad the next visit. But after the fact law enforcement agreed there was “something” on the childs face and told Mom to contact DSS. Which she did and the worker agreed the bruises were there and looked at the time and date stamp on the photographs.

They assessed the child as abused and wrote up a family plan and has an open case. And told her to notify her attorney. Mom asked questions to her local law enforcement and a magistrate who told her that IF she had safety concerns she did not have to send the child for the next visit. And she chose not to.

She notified Dad of her intentions until the issue was settled by a judge and DSS and he still showed up to pick up the child. She was at work and the child was with me since I was providing daycare for him. He continually called and messaged her threatening her with contempt and then began verbally abusing her by text telling her she was sick and needed help and that she needed to be a real mom and that she was the one to abuse the child. He would threaten her with contempt of court saying it was 2 counts in 1 weekend and then demand she tell him where “his child” was.

Mom understands that Dad can file a show cause order, but everyone who has spoken with her said she has an obligation and right to protect her child from anymore harm until the issue is straightened out or visits changed by a judge. My question for her wellbeing and the child’s is this, Has everyone been correct in telling her that she has this right to protect the baby from further physical harm and can she bring this to light if dad does file an order to show cause? She would take the photos and camera if needed and the letter from DSS.

Yes, if she has a genuine and reasonable belief (which it looks like she does) that the child is not safe when visiting the other parent, she may withhold visitation until the issue is cleared up. She may also want to consider filing for a domestic violence protective order for herself and the child based on the threats he is making.

Ok, Dad did file contempt. But here’s the scenario mom is facing. The mediated agreement wasn’t signed by a judge until 2 days after the “alleged contempt”. Mom has since spoken with the caseworker and the caseworker stated “maybe dad left child unattended” and that the “abuse has been lowered to a family assessment to determine if services need to be put in place”. And “while it is inappropriate behavior to grab a child by the face and leave marks it is not abuse.”

Frankly this is ridiculous!

But now what?

She will have to allow Family Services to do the assessment and go from there.


This may be a stupid question but are the man’s threats of contempt and verbal abuse such as telling the spouse she is “sick and needed help” is enough for a domestic abuse order?

or is it so because the child has apparently been physically abused?


No, there must be a fear of imminent physical harm to apply for a DVPO.