Child Custody Law and Spanking Your Child

Approximately on November 1, 2011, a video of a father spanking his daughter, with his belt, became viral on the Internet. This video is shown below, although I caution you that this video is violent and disturbing. Since hundreds of thousands of viewers have already seen this video, I'm not disclosing anything that is private. The topic of spanking, or violent discipline–when will it lead to the loss of child custody rights? Caution: This video is disturbing so I recommend that you watch a few seconds just to understand the nature of the punishment. As a San Diego Certified Family Law Specialist lawyer, my office handles many child custody cases. Many will read this posting and wonder, up to this point, why I am using the word "spanking" when the video displays, in my opinion, an angry, violent beating. However the question in law is when does any of this type of behavior lead to a loss of custody rights. This issue was raised by journalist Tim Sakahara in an online news story posted on HawaiiNewsNow. The mom died in an accident and the father is raising the child. The mom was the daughter of "Dog" Chapman (TV show–Dog, the Bounty Hunter). The father's child custody rights are at risk by virtue of an incident brought before the family court where the father is alleged to have beaten the child with a belt. California child custody law involves terms of "joint custody", "legal custody", "physical custody" and other rights known as "visitation" rights. Visitation may be ordered as supervised visitation when the court believes that a parent is a danger to the child. My office brought a motion against a father who took a belt to his son leaving a visible mark on the child's arm which appeared to be a perfect impression of the belt buckle of the belt which the father used. My office is aware of the many legal cases and statutes which support a motion to take custody away from an abusive parent.

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