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How can child abuse by a parent be recognized?

The stress of divorcing can manifest in a multitude of ways. When children are involved, this stress can multiply leaving either parent fearful about possible mistreatment. An active mind that is already focused on the negative aspects of divorce can easily become filled with concerns about how the other parent is treating the children.

While it is always important to be concerned about the health and well-being of one's child, how can Pennsylvania parents determine whether or not they truly have cause to worry about child abuse? Sometimes, the signs are clear: unusual burns, bruises and fractures combined with obvious symptoms of emotional distress are typically easy to spot. However, during divorce when everything is already in the process of changing, subtle signs of abuse may go unnoticed.

In many cases, parents may see changes in their children during a divorce. The cause could be attributed to the emotional stress of divorce, but could also be a symptom of something worse. In either case, it will probably be advantageous for the parents to seek assistance from a mental health care worker. This can help determine whether child abuse is the root cause or whether it is simply the strain of a parental divorce.

Here are a few areas of concern that may be related to child neglect, abuse or mistreatment.

-- Excessive or increased spanking

-- The presence of alcoholism or substance abuse

-- Unfit living conditions

-- Educational neglect

-- Signs of sexual abuse or domestic violence

Of course, it is wise not to jump to conclusions or panic about the other parent, but at the same time you will want to find out if your concerns are valid. In addition to seeking help from a health care professional, those who suspect mistreatment of any kind will benefit from consulting with a family law attorney serving Pennsylvania.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Dealing with Suspicions of Child Abuse by the Other Parent," Allison C. Williams, Nov. 09, 2015

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