According to child advocacy group Childhelp, a report of child abuse is made every ten seconds in the United States. Research shows that emotional, physical, or sexual abuse in childhood has an impact on a growing person’s long-term health.
Adverse childhood experiences put kids at greater risk for everything from alcohol and drug abuse to depression and other mental health problems. Sadly, many of the millions of children abused in this country every year are harmed by their own parents.
Suspicions or allegations of child abuse make already contentious divorces even more complicated.
Child Abuse and Custody Disputes
Allegations or criminal charges of child abuse from a parent inevitably impact a child custody case. It is significantly more difficult for a parent who has been accused of child abuse to obtain physical custody or visitation of the child.
Once a parent has been convicted of child abuse, it becomes nearly impossible. In some cases, parents found guilty of child abuse may have supervised visits with their child, but this is rare.
Allegations of Child Abuse
Allegations of child abuse carry a great deal of weight in custody disputes, as they should. Unfortunately, some parents may use this against their ex, making false allegations of child abuse to prevent the other parent from having access to the child.
Over the years, penalties for false allegations have become more severe. Parents who falsely accuse their ex of neglecting or abusing the child to alienate their parental bonds may forfeit their own parental rights in the process.
Suspect Your Ex of Child Abuse?
If you believe your child may be in immediate danger, you should call 911. Otherwise, it is smart to learn more about the law before reporting suspected abuse to the authorities. A New Jersey child abuse lawyer can explain the law in your jurisdiction regarding how long you have to report suspected abuse and which agencies you need to contact to report abuse.
Because failure to immediately report suspected physical or sexual abuse constitutes a crime in many jurisdictions, do not hesitate to contact your lawyer as soon as you notice any possible sign of abuse. Police reports, arrest warrants, and other evidence of criminal charges related to abuse can be used during divorce to influence child custody results, as can any documentation related to child protective services like case files and reports.
If You are Accused of Child Abuse
Bogus accusations of child abuse are not uncommon. If you find yourself facing false allegations, it is important to speak to your New Jersey child abuse lawyer before anyone else. They should always be present during your interactions with law enforcement or child protective services.
What you do and say at this point can change the course of your child custody dispute. Early and smart legal intervention can potentially preserve your parental rights and help you hold you ex accountable for false allegations.
New Jersey Child Abuse Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Put Children First
If you suspect your ex may be abusive, the New Jersey child abuse lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. take every action necessary to work toward a child custody scenario that protects your child’s physical and emotional well-being.
We represent clients throughout the state of New Jersey including the towns of Somerville, Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.