Can my ex-husband’s girlfriend spank my daughter?

She is 9 years old. There were no marks but she was spanked for sucking her thumb.

Asked on September 24, 2012 under Family Law, Florida


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It depends on your court orders.  Some parents want an agreement included in the final custody papers which prohibit either parent from using physical punishment.  However, if your paperwork is absent this type of language, then the parent gets to decide the degree of appropriate discipline when the child is in their care.  They can also delegate that authority to any child care provider, including the girlfriend.  However, if he does allow her to spank and she leaves markes, then he could be liable for injury to a child with her because he is the one authorizing the abuse discipline.

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