Shared custody or co-parenting has become the go-to solution in modern divorces. The courts generally view shared custody as being in the best interests of children. For most families, the kids benefit from seeing both parents frequently.
However, not every newly divorced parent puts the needs of the children first. In some cases, shared custody might lead to abuse or neglect when the children are at one parent’s house.
It’s important to remain alert for warning signs that living part of the time at your ex’s home isn’t what’s good for the children right now. Let’s look at a few.
Your kids claim your ex leaves them alone or isn’t sober
Unless your children are older teenagers, it is most likely inappropriate for one parent to leave the kids unattended for several hours or overnight. Part of having parenting time is being physically present and taking responsibility for the safety and well-being of the children. If your kids stay that their other parent keeps leaving them alone, that is an indicator of neglect.
The same is true of reports that your ex is drinking or doing illegal drugs when the kids are with them. A chemically impaired parent cannot respond appropriately to circumstances and could endanger their children. Drunk or intoxicated parents can also become abusive in some situations.
Your kids come home dirty or hungry
Taking care of children means providing them with clothing, maintaining their daily routine, feeding them and otherwise managing all of their basic life requirements. If your ex doesn’t keep groceries in the house, won’t cook for the children, doesn’t put them to sleep or otherwise fails to care for them, they may need help developing parenting skills.
If you believe that your ex has abused or neglected your children during their parenting time, you may need to ask the court for a custody modification. Reducing their parenting time, requiring supervision or ordering parenting classes could all be ways to help keep your kids safer.