Document injuries suffered by your children while staying with the other parent.
What’s going on at your ex-husband’s house? Or your ex-wife’s place? Why does your child show up at your place bruised and scratched after spending time with the other parent?
If your child is regularly getting injured at the other parent’s home, you need to document it. Keep a journal detailing the dates of each injury, a description of the injury, and the explanation for the injury as provided by your child. Photograph the injury, and save the photo with your journal. There’s no reason, in this day and age, that the journal and the photos cannot be stored online in a secure private note pad and photo library.
Do a bit of investigation. Ask your ex about the injury; record his or her explanation in your journal. Then ask your child about it, and record his explanation too.
Kids routinely scrape their knees, fall of their bikes, and bump into things. Occasional bumps or bruises are not necessarily an indication of any problems. But be wary of unusual injuries, recurring injuries, unexplained or poorly explained injuries, or any circumstance that suggests a problem. In extreme cases, your vigilance may reveal that the other parent (or somebody in his household) is guilty of domestic violence or excessive corporal punishment. If nothing else, a pattern of injuries may prove that the child is being poorly supervised or is being permitted to engage in inappropriate play activities. On some occasions, an injury will reveal a safety hazard at the other house — an issue that would not otherwise come to your attention.
Documenting and photographing your children’s injuries will help you recognize patterns. It will also help you to prove your case should the situation be serious enough to warrant a motion, a hearing, or other judicial intervention.