Category: Child Abuse

Co-Parenting a Child with Special Needs

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Co-Parenting a Child with Special Needs

Divorce can be stressful for the children involved, but this is especially true when the children have special needs. While all divorcing parents must find a way to put their children’s needs ahead of any animosity toward their ex-spouse, parents of children with special needs have an even more pronounced obligation to be open to working together for the good of their special needs child.

Experts often advise divorcing parents to focus on what is best for their children when making childrearing decisions. This advice is the perfect starting point for any co-parenting arrangement, but a divorcing couple with a special needs child has additional requirements for cooperation as well.

Create a Parenting Plan

A clear parenting plan provides a list of agreed-upon priorities for both parents to use as a guide to keep them on track to provide their children the best care possible. Parenting plans should include a list of your parenting goals, such as supporting your child’s efforts in school, recreational activities, and social engagements.

As parents of a special needs child, your parenting plan should address such issues as education, diet, and medical or behavioral treatment plans, including therapy appointments and home modifications to accommodate your child’s needs. The plan should address these immediate needs, as well as a long-term care plan for your child’s future.

Strive for Consistency

Children with ADHD, Autism, or anxiety disorders often find comfort in consistency. Divorce upends a lot of the consistency in a child’s life, so it is important to create stability where you can. Routines help and having a consistent schedule for morning, bedtime, and homework routines can provide a sense of comfort. Discipline and other parenting approaches should also be streamlined where possible. A professional can help determine what concessions should be made by both parents to help them stay focused on the outcomes most beneficial to their child.

Share Tips and Work Together

In many families, one parent acts as the primary caregiver. That can work when the marriage is intact, but when the family is split between two homes, the primary caregiver parent should be willing to work with the ex-spouse to make the child’s life comfortable in the secondary home. While it may make sense for the primary caregiver to request a larger share of custody, it can still help to provide helpful advice for the times when the other parent has the child.

Child Support

Raising children is expensive. The added costs of accommodating a child with special needs can become overwhelming if the costs are not shared. The child support arrangement should address the added costs of your child’s special care.

Somerville Child Support Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients Arrange Support for Special Needs Children

In families of divorce, parenting responsibilities are usually a major ongoing concern. Divorcing parents have additional concerns when it comes to caring for a child with special needs. The Somerville child support lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. help families figure out the best way to work together to support the needs of their children by working out a feasible parenting plan and a fair child support arrangement. Contact us online or call us at 908-575-9777 to set up a free consultation. With offices in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.

Being Falsely Accused of Child Abuse

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Being Falsely Accused of Child Abuse

Mendham family law lawyers fight for clients who are falsely accused of child abuse.For many parents engaged in a bitter custody battle, one of the biggest fears is being accused of child abuse by the other parent. Victims of false allegations often experience shock and fear as they face an investigation and potential removal of their children. By taking the following action steps, falsely accused parents can put this nightmare behind them as quickly as possible.

Seek Legal Assistance Immediately

The consequences of being accused of child abuse or neglect are serious. As the safety of children is always the foremost concern, there is a real possibility one’s children may be removed from the accused’s custody once an allegation is made. Judges typically suspend all visitation during this time. Only when an investigation fails to uncover evidence of abuse will the falsely accused parent’s visitation and custody rights be reinstated.

Being separated from one’s child is just the beginning of the nightmare for many falsely accused individuals. Child abuse convictions, especially those involving allegations of sexual abuse, will haunt an individual for the rest of his or her life. A conviction of child sexual abuse results in significant jail time, mandatory reporting, and significant fines. Finding employment becomes extremely difficult with a child sexual abuse conviction on one’s record.

To avoid any of these consequences, individuals falsely accused of child abuse should immediately contact an experienced family law attorney who can protect their rights during any DCPP investigation. Attempting to navigate this complex area of family law without the assistance of an experienced family law attorney can be disastrous for the accused and his or her children.

Cooperate with the Investigation

By willingly cooperating with those investigating the false claims, a falsely accused parent can save time and money in resolving the matter. Complying with court orders is an important part of defending the false accusations. As part of the investigative process, both the accused and the children may be required to submit to medical or mental health examinations.

Be careful not to admit anything that can be used as evidence of poor parenting. Accused parents have the right to have their attorney present during any interview with the police or social services agency. As the investigation continues, individuals should gather their own evidence to disprove the allegations. This can include favorable witness statements, photographs, school reports, hospital records, and doctor observations.

Control Emotions

Being falsely accused of child abuse can bring out the worst in individuals. Be sure to control feelings of anger especially around the children. Directing one’s rage over the injustice of the situation of an ex-spouse, his or her lawyer, the children, or law enforcement will do nothing but hurt your case. Any evidence of losing control ultimately can be used as evidence regardless of whether the anger is justified.

Mendham Family Law Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Represent Parents in Custody Dispute Matters Throughout New Jersey

If you have been falsely accused of child abuse by an ex-partner or ex-spouse, you are not alone. The dedicated family law lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. will aggressively fight to clear your name. Our experienced family law litigators understand the importance of protecting the relationship between parent and child and will not stop until all your parenting rights are restored. With offices conveniently located in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains. To schedule a free initial consultation with a Mendham family law lawyer today, call us at 908-575-9777 or submit an online inquiry form.

Child Abuse During Divorce

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Child Abuse During Divorce

New Jersey child abuse lawyers put your child’s physical and emotional well-being first.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.

To discuss your concerns, call 908-575-9777 or contact us online. We offer free consultations for new cases in our Somerville and Morristown locations.

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.

Child Protection Records

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New Jersey child abuse lawyers advise clients on the wording of New Jersey’s child protection laws.In a per curiam decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court addressed the confidentiality of Child Protection Records and encouraged the Legislature to amend the law to provide more clarity. Under the recent case of State v. Young (A-61-16, decided May 24, 2018), Mr. Young was a local politician who came to learn that one of his rivals was being investigated for child abuse. The State alleged that Mr. Young took that information and disseminated it publically to cause political harm to his rival, in violation of N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.10b. That statute mandates that all child abuse records must be kept confidential and that anyone who wrongly disseminates such information can be held criminally liable. Mr. Young was criminally convicted at the trial level, but both the Appellate Division and The New Jersey Supreme Court were constrained to reverse the conviction because the plain language of the statute was ambiguous, meaning that it was unclear to whom such confidentiality applied. But, in reversing the conviction, the Court also warned, “Our holding [ ] should not be viewed to minimize the gravity of the actions that led to defendant’s conviction.” The Court also encouraged the Legislature to re-examine the statute, holding that that governing body had the power to amend the law to clean up the language if it so desired. If you or someone you know has questions about New Jersey’s Child Protection laws, contact one of the skilled lawyers at Lyons & Associates, PC at 908-575-9777 or contact us at www.lyonspc.com

Adverse Childhood Experiences

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Somerset child custody lawyers provide experienced counsel in child custody matters.Negative childhood trauma can significantly impact adult health. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can include physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Physical and emotional neglect are also covered under this term. Other situations that qualify as ACEs are having a parent who abuses drugs or alcohol, is in jail, is mentally ill, or is personally a victim of domestic violence.

The largest study of ACEs and their effects on adult health began in 1995 by Kaiser Permanente together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is still ongoing. Study participants have been interviewed and tracked over the years to follow health outcomes and their relationship to the participants’ childhood circumstances. The study has demonstrated a clear link between ACEs and health problems, such as depression, chronic lung disease, cancer, and heart disease. High risk behaviors such as smoking, alcohol and substance abuse, severe obesity, and promiscuity are also prominent among those with ACEs.

Screening for ACEs

Researchers studying ACEs have developed a test that predicts the likelihood of a child developing health issues as an adult, relative to any traumatic experiences. The test tallies the frequency of exposure to the traumas of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; physical or emotional neglect; household mental illness; household substance abuse; witnessing a mother treated violently or an incarcerated household member; and experiencing parental separation or divorce.

The more exposure to ACEs, the higher a person’s score. Compared with a score of zero, having been exposed to four ACEs correlates with a 700 percent increase in alcoholism, as well as a 400 percent increase in emphysema, and a 200 percent increase in cancer.

Protecting Children from Traumatic Events

Child Protective Services received 683,000 reports of child abuse and neglect in 2015. In the same year, the CDC says that about 1,670 children suffered fatal injuries from abuse and neglect. Children that survive abuse and neglect are at high risk of developing serious health issues as adults. Sadly, childhood trauma is preventable. There are many ways to help prevent child abuse and neglect, including:

  • Public engagement and education campaigns
  • Economic support for families, including family friendly work policies
  • Making sure families have access to quality care and education early in life
  • Improving quality of child care through licensing and accreditation requirements
  • Parenting classes that cover skills and relationship approaches
  • Providing financial support to local groups aiming to improve parenting and strengthen families
  • Speaking out when witnessing an act of abuse or neglect

A major finding of the CDC Kaiser study is that Adverse Childhood Experiences are common. Nearly two-thirds of study participants reported at least one such experience, and almost 40 percent testified to two or more ACEs. The emotional and physical cost to victims, as well as the economic effect of ACEs on society, is well documented and must be addressed.

Somerset Child Custody Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Provide Experienced Counsel in Child Custody Matters

The dedicated Somerset child custody lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. serve clients in Somerset County, Morris County, Union County, and throughout the State of New Jersey. Call 908-575-9777 to schedule a free and confidential consultation about your family law matter or contact us online.

Digital Spying

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Somerset divorce lawyers fight for victims of digital spying while going through a divorce.Over the past few decades, technology has changed the divorce process in unsettling ways. With apps and trackers revealing a spouse’s online and in-person activity, technology offers more transparency than ever. However, experts believe that “digital spying” is essentially stalking and should have legal and criminal repercussions.

GPS trackers are among the most common digital spying tools used in bitter separations. The devices attach discreetly to a car and can be used to track the owner’s whereabouts unbeknownst to the driver. Moreover, certain spouses may track a spouse’s online activities with digital spyware. Inexpensive spyware applications can be installed on a phone or computer within moments. They allow one to see every web search, text message, and keystroke a person is doing in real time.

When Digital Spying Becomes Stalking

In certain divorces, digital spying may seem justified. When drug abuse, infidelity, or child neglect are suspected, digital spying can provide important evidence used to protect a spouse or children. However, when one uses technology to control their spouse, spying crosses the line into stalking.

In divorces involving physical or emotional abuse, digital spying gives the abuser unlimited access to the victim’s private life; access that can have dangerous consequences. Spouses hiding for their own protection may be alarmed to find that their ex-spouse knows their whereabouts with technology that costs less than $20, and takes mere moments to install.

Digital Spying and the Law

Digital spying technology is still relatively new, and the law is still a bit murky as far as how it impacts divorce. Installing spyware on another adult’s phone or computer without his or her consent is illegal, but once incriminating evidence is obtained, divorce lawyers can use that in a case.

Because police are hesitant to investigate digital spying, criminal prosecutions and civil lawsuits are few and far between. Victims are left to hire private investigators to determine how their privacy was compromised. According to National Public Radio research, consequences for digital spying are inconsistent. One spouse using spyware to monitor his wife’s movements received jail time, while another who slipped a GPS tracker on his wife’s vehicle did not because he was listed as a co-owner of the car.

Somerset Divorce Lawyers Lyons & Associates, P.C. Fight for Those Going Through a Divorce

Laws regarding the use of digital spying evidence can be used in divorce are complex. If you suspect your ex-spouse is using technology to track your online whereabouts, contact a skilled divorce lawyer in Somerset at Lyons & Associates, P.C. We will guide you on the best legal course of action available. Our team of compassionate and knowledgeable attorneys fight for victims of physical and emotional abuse seeking divorce.

To schedule a confidential consultation, call 908-575-9777 or contact us online today. Our offices are located in Somerville, New Jersey, and we proudly serve residents throughout the state, including Somerset County, Morris County, and Union County, including the towns of Bridgewater, Basking Ridge, Mendham, Morristown, Somerville, South Plainfield, Somerset, and Woodbridge.

Parental Alienation

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Woodbridge divorce lawyers assist victims of parental alienation during divorce and explain the significant consequences, including the loss of child visitation rights. Divorce can be a difficult time for couples that have children, especially if hard feelings exist between parents. Although many parents put aside their differences for the sake of their children and take measures for equal distribution of parenting time, animosity may result in parental alienation. While parental relationships can become strained during a divorce, it is important to avoid parental alienation, as it may have significant consequences, including the loss of child visitation rights.

What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation is the act of persuading a child to exclude one parent from their life. This is often done by poisoning a child’s thoughts and perceptions of the other parent, and is estimated to exist in 11 to 15 percent of divorces that involve children, according to the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS). Parental manipulation resulting in alienation occurs most often in situations of divorce or separation, particularly when legal action is involved. Ranging in severity from mild to extreme, the act of parental alienation is recognized as a form of parental psychological abuse and family violence, and may have severe consequences on parents and children.

Initially, parents will be given the chance to change their behavior with the help of intense training and therapy programs. If the negative behavior does not stop, manipulative parents will not be allowed to live with their children. During this time, contact between the parent and child may be limited or refused, depending on the severity of the situation. If alienating parents do not stop their behavior, the parent may be prohibited from further contact with the child. Measures are being taken by the CAFCASS to put a stop to parental alienation. A recent trial program has established a regime to stop the abuse.

The CAFCASS Trial

The CAFCASS trial program is a multi-step process to prevent and repair cases of parental alienation. The 12-week trial will initially launch with 50 high-conflict families in a Positive Parenting program, a program that is designed to put the manipulative parent in the child’s position, while providing them with the skills necessary to break the pattern of abusive behavior. If the Positive Parenting program fails, the offending parent will be put in contact with mental health experts who will work with parents to stop the abusive behavior through therapy and consultation. Depending on the parent’s progress, time with children may be increased or limited.

Woodbridge Divorce Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Assist Victims of Parental Alienation During Divorce

Establishing parenting time during a divorce can be difficult, especially if hard feelings are present. If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulties during divorce where children are concerned, do not hesitate to contact our Woodbridge divorce lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Our experienced team of lawyers are knowledgeable in areas concerning child support and parenting time, and may be able to assist you during the divorce process. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call 908-575-9777.

What to Do When Your Child Is Being Abused by Your Ex’s New Partner

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New Jersey domestic violence lawyers represent victims of child abuse and neglect.Divorced spouses often deal with issues such as child custody, parenting time, and alimony. They may even pursue new relationships or remarry. In such cases, children must adjust to spending time with any new partners their parents may have. However, if your child is being abused by your ex’s new partner, it is not in the child’s best interest to have contact with that person, and the child should be removed from the situation. If you suspect abuse and neglect, there are several things you can do to verify that abuse occurred and protect your child.

Take Action

If you believe your child has been abused by your ex’s new partner, it is imperative that you remove the child from the situation. You can ask your ex not to bring their partner around your child. If your ex will not agree, you may then have to contact child protective services or a skilled domestic violence law firm.

In New Jersey it is possible to file an Order to Show Cause wherein you request to have the child removed from your ex-spouse’s custody. Shortly thereafter, the Court will have a hearing to decide whether your son or daughter must have supervised visits.

Another option is to call Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCP&P) will typically accept anonymous information and staff will investigate the situation. DCP&P may remove the child from the home if evidence of abuse is found. DCP&P may also provide assistance in modifying your child custody order to ensure your child is not exposed to your ex’s partner. When asking the court to modify your child custody agreement, you must show a change in circumstances has occurred which warrants modification. Courts are hesitant to modify child custody and parenting time agreements; they require proof of child abuse, which may be provided by DCP&P and your child’s doctor or therapist.

Signs of Abuse

It is important to be able to recognize signs of potential abuse. While some signs of physical abuse are often apparent, other forms of abuse may be more difficult to identify. Here are some common signs of child abuse and neglect:

  • Bruises or other marks on the child’s body
  • The child seems depressed and no longer expresses interest in things they once loved
  • The child does not want to go to your ex’s home
  • Extreme changes in behavior
  • Poor hygiene
  • Untreated illnesses
  • Running away from home

Talk to Your Child

Your child will need support during this difficult time. It is important to remain calm and provide reassurance. Here are some tips for talking to an abused child:

  • Do not deny the child’s accusations
  • Do not express severe shock or disgust
  • Let the child know you are there to provide unconditional support
  • Allow the child to explain what happened without interrogation
  • Make sure the child knows that what happened was not their fault

If you do not feel equipped to deal with the situation, seek the assistance of a counselor, therapist and/or attorney.

New Jersey Domestic Violence Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Represent Victims of Child Abuse and Neglect

If your child was abused, contact an experienced New Jersey domestic violence lawyer at Lyons & Associates, P.C. We are experienced in handling complex family law matters. Our firm represents clients in Somerville, Somerset, Woodbridge, Mendham, and throughout New Jersey. To schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our legal team, contact us online or call us at 908-575-9777.

Child Sexual Abuse

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New Jersey Child Abuse Lawyers fight to protect victims of child sexual abuse.A claim of child sexual abuse is found or substantiated by child protective services every eight minutes, making it a widespread problem. Child sexual abuse is a crime that inflicts lasting damage on victims. Any form of sexual activity with a minor qualifies as child sexual abuse. Children cannot consent to sexual activity in any form, and there does not have to be physical contact between the perpetrator and the victim to be considered child sexual abuse.

Any of the following are forms of child sexual abuse:

  • Phone calls or text messages of a sexual nature, or similar digital communication
  • Exposing oneself to a minor
  • Fondling
  • Masturbation in front of a minor, or making the child masturbate
  • Sex of any kind with a minor whether vaginal, oral, or anal
  • Sex trafficking
  • Any kind of sexual behavior that harms the child’s emotional or mental well-being or physical welfare

The Perpetrators

Most victims under the age of 18 know their abusers. Among cases reported to law enforcement, 93 percent of the victims knew the perpetrators. Of those, family members accounted for 34 percent of the cases, and 59 percent were acquaintances of the victim. Perpetrators do not have to be adults. Anyone in a relationship with the child, especially someone in a position of authority, can be an abuser. It could be a family member, teacher, caretaker, playmate, older sibling, coach, or parent of a friend.

Child sexual abuse is more than a physical crime, it is an abuse of authority and trust which is why the damaging effects can last long into adulthood. The perpetrator often uses a position of authority to intimidate and coerce the child. They may threaten the child for refusing to participate or may try to convince them that this is “normal” activity that they should enjoy.

Because perpetrators of child sexual abuse are so often people that the family or child knows and trusts, it may be difficult to recognize that abuse is taking place. The signs may or may not be physical. Know these warning signs of child sexual abuse:

  • Changes in Behavior
  • Trouble in school with grades or attendance
  • Suicidal thoughts, especially in adolescents
  • Self-harming
  • Regressive behavior, such as thumb sucking
  • Avoidance of physical contact
  • Nightmares and bed-wetting
  • Refusal to bathe, or excessive bathing
  • Inappropriate sexual knowledge and behavior

Physical Indications

  • Bloody, stained, or torn underwear
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Bruises, swelling, or bleeding in genital area
  • Urinary or yeast infections
  • Pain, itching, or burning in genital area

Victims of child sexual abuse face a long path to healing and recovery and are often left with feelings of guilt, shame, despair, and anger. They can suffer from low self-esteem, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, an inability to trust others, are at a high risk for aggressive or suicidal behavior, promiscuity or sexual identity problems, substance abuse, and teen pregnancy.

Reporting Suspected Child Sexual Abuse

In New Jersey, if you notice any of the warning signs above and suspect a child is being sexually abused, you are obligated to report your suspicions to the New Jersey abuse hotline. The report can be made anonymously and proof is not needed to report suspected abuse.

New Jersey Child Abuse Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Fight to Protect Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

The dedicated child abuse lawyers in New Jersey at Lyons & Associates, P.C. are committed to helping the most vulnerable victims of abuse. Call 908-575-9777 or contact us online. From our offices in Somerville, New Jersey, we can help you with all your family law needs.

Mendham Child Custody Lawyers: You Tubers Lose Custody

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Mendham Child Custody Lawyers: You Tubers Lose CustodyMike and Heather Martin, a Maryland couple famous for their YouTube channel full of prank videos, recently lost custody of two of their children after a controversial video the couple posted went viral. Public backlash and concern for the children prompted their biological mother to seek emergency custody, which was granted. In the video, the father and stepmother scream profanities at one the children for spilling ink in the carpet. The ink was in fact invisible, and part of a planned “prank.”

The Martin’s YouTube Channel, dubbed Daddyofive, featured numerous videos of the parents pulling pranks on all the children, but seemed particularly targeted at their 9-year-old son. The pranks escalate to pushing, screaming, shouting, and explicit language. In some videos, the children are driven to tears, anger, and complete frustration.

Social Media Outrage

As the “Invisible Ink” video began to circulate on social media, viewers were outraged. An online petition was created requesting Child Protective Services (CPS) to investigate the family for signs of emotional and physical abuse. Countless YouTube videos popped up shaming the couple and making heartfelt pleas on behalf of the children. Several of these videos referenced numerous episodes of harsh behavior on the part of the Martins that could possibly constitute abuse. Many YouTubers point out that most of the pranks seem to be directed at one child in particular, the boy featured in the “Invisible Ink” prank.

As public outrage swelled against the YouTubers, the couple took to morning television to answer the allegations of abuse. Mrs. Martin claimed the videos featured on their You Tube channel were not a reflection of their family, but were more like characters the family played. She called the video in question a “show.” The couple publicly apologized and called the prank “harmless.” They claim the children enjoy being in the videos.

The child featured in the Invisible Ink video and his older sister have returned to the custody of their biological mother. She says that seeing her kids abused has been “heartbreaking.” She says the children are doing well. The couple has since deleted all of their public videos.

Social Media and Legal Ramifications

With video services such as YouTube, Facebook Live, and Snapchat, we now have access to the intimate details of family life we might not have otherwise seen. As in the Martin’s case, that access can have serious consequences when it comes to child custody. In many states, social media posts and images are admissible in court. A reported 81 percent of U.S. divorce lawyers say they have seen an increase in the use of social media evidence in court.

Mendham Child Custody Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Advocate for the Rights of Children

Mendham child custody lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. understand how to use social media evidence in your child custody case. If you are concerned about the welfare of your child, we can help. Contact the skilled family law team at Lyons & Associates, P.C. at our Somerville, New Jersey offices at 908-575-9777 or contact us online.