How Child Abuse Allegations Can Affect Your Custody Case
An estimated 676,000 American children were victims of abuse and neglect in 2015. Every year, thousands of children suffer emotional, physical, and sexual abuse at the hands of loved ones. Even more astounding, roughly 3.4 million families were investigated by child protective services agencies in 2016. While many of the reports made to child protective services end up being legitimate instances of abuse or neglect, many are not. If you are getting divorced, there are many ways that allegations of child abuse can affect your case.
If You Have Been Accused of Child Abuse
If your soon-to-be-ex-spouse has accused you of abusing a child, there are many ways this can affect the outcome of your divorce. When courts make decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, (formerly child custody and visitation, respectively) they always put the best interest of the child first and foremost. Allegations of child abuse can lead to the limitation of your time with your children. If your ex has made unfounded accusations against you, it is imperative that you hire an attorney to represent you and protect your rights. An attorney can help you disprove any false allegations of wrongdoing and prevent you from losing parental responsibilities and parenting time of your child.
If You Suspect Your Spouse Abused Your Children
If you suspect that your spouse has in any way abused your child, your first priority is to get the child to safety. An Emergency Order of Protection can provide temporary protection for individuals in this situation. If you worry about your child being alone with their other parent after the divorce, do not wait until the custody hearing to voice these concerns. It can appear suspicious for one spouse to accuse the other of abuse for the first time during a custody case, so make sure not to hesitate to report abusive behaviors when they occur. It is also important that a spouse be clear that a given behavior is actually considered abusive before jumping to conclusions or making accusations, because making false accusation can be harmful to a party as well in a custody hearing.
False Accusations of Child Abuse
Sometimes, an angry parent will purposefully make a false allegation of child abuse against their soon-to-be-ex-spouse. In addition to slowing the divorce process and unfairly sullying the reputation of the other parent, making false allegations of child abuse can backfire. If a court finds that a parent fabricated the story about the other parent’s abuse, they may conclude that the lying parent does not have the child’s best interest at heart. The court may reduce the amount of parenting time that parent is allowed or even require supervised visitation in response. The accuser may also be responsible for the falsely accused parent’s legal expenses.
If you have further questions about how child abuse allegations can affect your divorce, call the experienced Kane County family law attorneys at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC. Call 630-549-0960 today to schedule your initial, confidential consultation.