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Spanking as a method of child discipline and its potential impact on custody determinations, P.1

One of the issues that can sometimes come up in child custody cases is parental discipline style. Different parents have different ways of disciplining their children depending on what they consider to be more effective and appropriate. What, then, when one parent makes an issue of the other parent’s approach to discipline in child custody proceedings?

The question isn’t necessarily easy to answer, though one easy answer is to say that a parent who has been found to abuse a child is not likely to fair well in a custody case. One of the issues we’ve talked about previously on this blog is how domestic violence and child abuse are factors that courts take into consideration, and seriously so, when determining child custody arrangements. As we’ve noted, the central factors in these decisions is the best interests of the child, and abuse is a foremost concern. 

But what exactly constitutes child abuse in the context of discipline? To get to a tough question: does corporal punishment, specifically spanking, constitute child abuse, and if so, under what circumstances? Some people, of course, are of the mentality that, while spanking may not constitute child abuse, it is at least an inferior method of disciplining a child. The important issue for parents in child custody cases, though, is under what circumstances courts will take spanking and other corporal punishment into account when making child custody determinations. And if so, to what extent?

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this issue, and the importance of working with an experienced attorney in child custody proceedings.

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