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CHILD DISCIPLINE (SPANKING) AND DIVORCE: BEWARE OF YOUR CHOICES

Different parents may have different views on appropriate techniques to use in disciplining their children.  Even if parents agree on appropriate techniques, if parents spank their children during the marriage without objection from the other parent, continuation of this manner of discipline can become problematic during a divorce.  In some cases, if one parent decides to suddenly complain that the other parent is spanking their child, a judge can conclude that the level of spanking a party uses constitutes domestic violence.  If this occurs, the Court has a legal basis (and maybe an obligation) to award the other party sole legal decision making.  The judge also has the ability to restrict or even terminate the other party’s parenting time.  A claim that the parties had no problem using spanking as a method of discipline during the marriage is not always persuasive.  Hence, this is a cautionary tale.

 While parents have a right, for the most part, to determine their own parenting techniques, those chosen techniques are not without consequence – especially in a divorce.  One complaint by a parent about the other parent can result in a Department of Child Safety (DCS) investigation, criminal investigation and/or charges, an Order of Protection being issued to prevent the parent’s contact with the child, and/or a restriction (i.e. supervised) or termination of the disciplining parent’s parenting time.

The attorneys at Lasiter & Jackson, PLLC have extensive experience and will consult you about parenting strategies during litigation as well as the possible ramifications of your choices.  Our attorneys will also provide comprehensive advice if you allege, or the other parent alleges, that one parent engaged in inappropriate or excessive spanking of your child during a custody dispute.  Please call us at (602) 234-5900 to discuss strategies involving the issue of corporal punishment in your family court matter.  These issues can have both far reaching implications in family court and, possibly, in criminal court.  As such, you need to have information and strategy for action.

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