An, unfortunately, common aspect of a divorce proceeding is an allegation of child abuse. Sometimes, this comes to light during the divorce process because the other spouse has been hiding it for a long time, and only now feels comfortable to let it be known that it is going on. Other times, though, meritless child abuse allegations are made during a divorce proceeding to give one parent an advantage in the child support and custody decision that the court has to make.
Regardless of whether child abuse allegations are true or not, they should be taken very seriously during the divorce process, and need the careful attention of a family law and divorce attorney to handle correctly.
What to Do If Your Spouse is Abusing Your Children
If you are convinced that your spouse is abusing your children, whether physically, sexually, or emotionally, then the actions that you take will have a huge impact on the future wellbeing of your children, as well as the future of your family.
The first thing that you need to do is ensure that your children are safe, and will not have to go through any more abuse once you have realized what is going on. Bringing them to a safe place and making sure that they will not have to go through the abuse anymore is paramount.
Once you have done this, notifying your family law attorney is usually the next step to take. Talking about what you have found with an attorney who regularly deals with these kinds of situations allows you to tap into their experience with the abuse reporting process. They can also give you ideas on where to go and how to get the evidence that you might need, should the unfortunate situation turn into a court case.
To report a case of child abuse, though, you only need to have a reasonable suspicion that it is going on – not perfect proof – and report the abuse in good faith. If you have a reasonable suspicion that your children are being abused, then call the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment at 1-800-342-3720. They will notify your local division of the Child Protective Services, who will begin an investigation.
What to Do If Your Spouse Accuses You of Child Abuse
While making a report of child abuse requires that the accuser do it in good faith, it is an unfortunate fact that this is not always the case. Sometimes, spouses who are going through a divorce will take any and all means at their disposal to get custody of their children. It is not uncommon for spouses who are currently divorcing to accuse the other spouse of child abuse in order to push the divorce court into giving them sole custody.
The repercussions of such an accusation are dire. If not fought vigorously during the divorce proceeding, the divorce court judge might be hesitant to award you custody of your children, and might not even want to give you visitation rights without requiring them to be supervised. Fighting accusations of child abuse could be one of the biggest obstacles you ever face in your personal life: If taken lightly, they can result in you being isolated from your children as they grow up.
Additionally, domestic violence is a criminal activity in the state of New York, and an accusation of child abuse can trigger an investigation into your personal life, and could even amount to criminal charges being filed against you. If child abuse allegations are not contested from the beginning, you could find yourself facing criminal charges, which would require the attention of a criminal defense attorney, and put your liberty at stake.
Because of the heightened risks of a criminal charge for domestic violence or child abuse, consulting a family law or divorce attorney the instant your spouse has accused you of child abuse is absolutely critical. Fighting these serious accusations from the moment they are made can go a long way to ensuring that your interests and your rights are protected.
Syracuse Family Law Attorneys at Bombardo Law
Accusations of child abuse are important to make, in order to protect your children, and serious to defend against, to protect yourself from injustice. That is why the family law and divorce attorneys at the Bombardo Law Office, P.C., take them so seriously. If you have become suspicious that your spouse is abusing your children, or if you have been accused of child abuse by a spouse to get the upper hand in a divorce, contact our Syracuse law office online or at (315) 488-5544.