Possible Child Abuse?

If you believe your son is in danger or has been injured, you should take him to see the pediatrician. The next step should be to seek a protective order on behalf of your son that orders his father to stay away from him. This can be done with out without an attorney and most counties have domestic violence advocates who can help walk you through the process. What county do you live in?

P.S. Please feel free to bring up this or any other topic on our live call-in show every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. EST. Visit radio.rosen.com for details

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Sutton Station
5826 Fayetteville Rd. Suite 205
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 321-0780


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

I have had sole custody of my twelve-year-old son since my separation/divorce in 2000. Ex-husband has visitation, and takes advantage of perhaps half of the scheduled visitation time. During our marriage he was verbally abusive, ultimately physically abusive, and was convicted of assault after our separation. He is not allowed to pick up my son at school or camp. He has had 3 DUIs (cannot drive legally) and lives with his parents. Continues to abuse alcohol. He pays a minimal level of child support (wages garnished after a history of non-payment). I had a restraining order for 2 years around the time of my remarriage 3 years ago because of abusive phone calls. Our custody order has not been amended since 2001.

My son came home tonight complaining that his father had wrenched his arms under the guise of roughhousing - when he cried his father called him a sissy and said “I was just playing” - there had been 1 or 2 other incidents that we know of where he has pushed him hard or “played rough”. My son is scared of him and doesn’t want to have to see him - we suspect that there have been other incidents we don’t know about.

Since my ex-husband lives with his parents (aged 75 and 80), his visitation is nominally supervised, but these incidents are happening out of their sight, and I believe that they are probably the victims of some verbal and physical abuse as well, based on what my son is telling me.

My question is, what do I do first? Three different attorneys have told me over the years that the courts do not block visitation except in cases of physical abuse. I had worried that as my son got older he would be more likely to be a victim of physical abuse by his father, and it appears that is beginning to happen. Should I take my son to see his pediatrician? Will his pediatrician have to report the suspected abuse if he concurs with our assessment, and what happens when child services gets involved? Or would it be better to consult an attorney first? What are the odds of negotiating supervised visitation with a court-appointed supervisor?