Impact of Abuse Claims in New Jersey Child Custody Cases
Child custody orders determine the caretaking arrangements for a couple’s child after their divorce. For most cases, the basis for these cases is that the child should have a right to access both parents, and both parents have an equal right to the child.
However, there are some circumstances that would restrict or prohibit a parent’s access to their child, such as evidence of any form of abuse or neglect. The wellbeing of the child is the most important concern that a court considers when issuing a custody order, so allegations of abuse are treated incredibly seriously in these cases. If you believe that abuse claims may impact your New Jersey child custody case, a compassionate and qualified attorney could guide you through the necessary proceedings.
Abuse Allegations in Court
When child abuse at the hands of either parent is alleged in a custody case, a thorough investigation will result. If the allegations prove to be credible, the accused person will almost never obtain custody. Depending on the specific nature of the alleged abuse, the accused parent may not be permitted to have any access to the child. The court would have to determine that it is in the best interest of that child for them to continue to have contact with their abusive parent, and it would vary on a case by case basis.
A parent accused of child abuse during custody proceedings could expect different outcomes depending on the severity of the claims. They could be ordered to have no contact with their child, or there could be supervised contact with the child, but the immense impact of abuse claims in custody cases means that there will likely be some type of restriction imposed.
Proving Abuse and Neglect in Child Custody Cases
There are several ways to prove child abuse. When investigating allegations of physical abuse, there may be visible signs of trauma or bruising on the child’s body or medical records or testimony from eyewitnesses that could back up the claims.
Similarly, signs of neglect could include medical issues that a child developed because they were not attended to, or the child’s unkempt appearance or poor hygiene. Personal accounts from the child may also be used to prove abusive or neglectful misconduct in many cases.
Defenses Against Abuse Accusations
In the context of family court, a person could refute abuse allegations by first explaining their specific circumstances to an attorney. Local legal counsel could determine if the other party is making false allegations to gain an advantage in the custody case.
If an accused person wants to prove that no abuse occurred, they would have to show that not only did they never engage in that conduct, but the accusing party may have a reason for making a false statement. A defense of this nature will often rely on the testimonies of people who know the child and medical and mental health professionals. Piecing together proof that could dispel abuse allegations will be a central role of an attorney in the area who takes on a case like this.
Consult with a New Jersey Attorney About the Impact of Abuse Allegations in Child Custody Cases
If you are dealing with the impact of abuse claims in your New Jersey child custody case, it is important to have an experienced legal team at your side to help you chart a clear plan of action. These allegations are always serious and could significantly change your family dynamic after your divorce. It is crucial for the court to have all of the available evidence laid out in a trial. Call today to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys and learn more about your next steps.