PLM Family Law

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What parents should know about abuse during a divorce

When a couple gets divorced in North Dakota, one parent might become hostile toward the child or try to pit the child against their former spouse. This can cause stress and confusion for the child as well as additional frustration for their custodial parent. If the behavior escalates, it can turn into domestic abuse, which might lead the custodial parent to seek legal counsel.

What are the ways that a parent might act hostile toward their child or spouse?

During a divorce, one parent might act hostile toward their child to get back at their former spouse. They might criticize the other parent in front of the child, tell the child to pass messages back and forth, force the child to choose one parent over the other, antagonize the child to “get back” at their former spouse or try to turn their child against the other parent. They might also spoil the child in an attempt to win their love and get the child to take their side in the divorce.

If the situation continues to escalate, hostile behavior can turn into abuse. One parent might start threatening, harassing, stalking or trying to intimidate the other. They might also become physically abusive. When this happens, the custodial parent might need to file a restraining order and take further legal action against their former spouse.

Where can a parent find legal guidance during a divorce?

During a divorce, a parent might wish to hire an attorney for legal guidance throughout the process. An attorney may assist them with issues like child custody, visitation rights and child support. They may also be able to help their client negotiate during the property division process. If the other parent becomes abusive or hostile, the attorney may offer legal advice to their client about the available options.