New York appellate court rules on corporal punishment for kids

New York parents received affirmation recently regarding their right to impose corporal punishment on their children. In July, the Appeals Division ruled that a father from Long Island who in 2012 spanked his then-8-year-old son for misbehavior used "a reasonable use of force" in disciplining his boy.

This is in stark contrast to a judge's ruling last year in the Suffolk County Family Court, where a judge found that the father, who admitted to striking his son with an open hand, had been abusive "by inflicting excessive corporal punishment."

The man allegedly spanked his son after the boy had cursed while attending a get-together at the home of a friend. It was also reported that, upon arriving back at home following the party, the father used a belt to hit his son on the arms, legs and buttocks.

The Appellate Division sided with the dad, who denied hitting his child with a belt. The determined insufficient evidence existed to substantiate the abuse charge. A panel of four judges unanimously ruled that the father's disciplinary measures violated no laws.

Custodial disputes often degenerate into ugly, no-holds-barred courtroom battles where wild allegations are unleashed from one parent regarding the other's parenting abilities and supposed deficiencies. Innocent parents have been falsely accused of abuses to give the other parent leverage in the custody case.

This new ruling can be a boon for fathers' rights, as it eliminates the ability of a bitter ex-spouse from mischaracterizing firm discipline by a loving father as lawless abuse that is excessive. Too often children are manipulated and used as pawns in divorce wars that nobody ever really wins.

If you have been accused of abusive behavior by a former spouse for using corporal punishment on your misbehaving children, a New York family law attorney can cite this recent decision to negate the allegations.

Source: New York Daily News, "Court rules it's 'reasonable use of force' for parents to spank their kids" Dareh Gregorian, Ryan Sit, Erin Durkin, Jul. 20, 2014

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