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If there is not a parenting plan or custody order in place, you may not have legal custody. If your child tells you she is being abused, however, you should report it to the Department of Children's Services (or similarly named dept. in your state) so that an investigation can be done. This should help you get legal custody if the other parent is guilty of abuse.
If you're the mother of the child--then your legal custody is assumed. But otherwise, if a formal custody case has not been processed with a judge signing an order, odds are legal custody has not been established. If you're the father, you likely need to take a paternity test and file a petition for custody to establish legal custody.
If child abuse is present, you should take action with the appropriate state agency immediately.
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