The mistreatment of a child is a serious issue at any time, but during a divorce or child custody case it can be even more complicated and devastating. Child abuse occurs when a parent or guardian permits or inflicts physical, mental, or sexual injury or suffering upon a minor. Child neglect occurs when a parent or guardian fails to provide adequate care or conditions for a child, or allows a child to be at risk of physical or emotional harm. Child abuse and neglect are criminal offenses in most states, and they can also have a significant impact on child custody decisions during divorce in New Jersey.
If a parent is found guilty of child neglect or abuse, physical custody is typically out of the question, and even visitation rights can be curtailed or denied. Being accused of and investigated for child abuse can also have a negative effect on a parent’s ability to gain visitation or custody rights. Because accusations of child abuse can have a profound effect on a custody hearing, it is sadly not unheard of for false allegations of abuse or neglect to be made during such hearings. Falsely accusing someone of child abuse is itself a serious offense, and when false accusations are made they tend to backfire, resulting in loss of custody for the accuser.
False Abuse Accusations and Proper Reporting
Any parent that sincerely suspects his or her spouse of abuse or neglect should take steps to protect the child and follow the proper process for documenting and reporting it. Taking the child to a medical professional for treatment and examination, then filing a report with the authorities is a good course of action. While episodes of child abuse, especially physical abuse, can be documented relatively easily, claims of neglect and/or emotional abuse can be more difficult to substantiate. Although child neglect can represent a broad range of issues, it typically needs to be chronic or recurring in order to be used in a court case. Parents should avoid bringing trivial issues to the table during a custody battle, as they contribute little and tend to lead to pointless arguments.
Cherry Hill Divorce Lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard C. Klein Focus on Helping Families
If you have concerns about child abuse, child neglect, or child custody, or if you are considering a divorce in New Jersey, call the Law Offices of Richard C. Klein at 856-988-5470, or contact us online to schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced Cherry Hill divorce lawyers. We are dedicated to striving for the best possible outcome for our clients and their families.