Do you and your child’s other parent get along? If not, you might be in for a contentious child custody battle. While the focus in this dispute needs to be on your child’s best interests, there’s no guarantee that your child’s other parent will approach the matter in that fashion. In fact, in far too many of these cases, parents go out of their way to try to punish the other parent, sometimes at the expense of the child’s well-being.
As we’ve discussed previously on the blog, parental alienation is more common than many people think. But the process of manipulating a child can be far more severe than simply subjecting the child to disparaging comments about the other parent. Under some circumstances, a parent goes so far as to make false allegations of abuse or neglect against the other parent.
The dangers of false allegations
The stakes are high when you’re falsely accused of abusing or neglecting your child. If the other parent is able to convince the judge in your custody case that the abuse likely occurred, you might lose custody, see reduced visitation, see restrictions placed on your visitation, or have your parenting time ceased altogether. It almost goes without saying, then, that these allegations can negatively impact your relationship with your child.
In the most serious cases, allegations of child abuse and neglect can lead to a criminal investigation. While this can certainly have a tremendous impact on your custody case, it can also threaten you with criminal conviction and the possibility of jail or even prison time. This attempt at physically removing you from the child’s life is drastic and dangerous to your child’s health, safety and well-being.
What can you do if you’ve been falsely accused of abuse or neglect?
If your child’s other parent starts making claims that you’ve abused or neglected your kid, you need to start looking for evidence to disprove that claim. Even though the burden of proof lies with the other parent, it’s common for judges and law enforcement officers to believe statements that are made by children. Therefore, if you’re child has been coached, forced, or otherwise compelled to make statements against you, you need to know how to disprove them.
One way to do so is to assess the timeline of the statements. If they started coming out once your child custody dispute heated up or you made a request for more visitation or to reduce the other parent’s contact with the child, that raises a lot of red flags.
Another option that may prove powerful in your case is to have your child assessed by a mental health professional. This individual may be able to gain a clearer sense of your child’s relationship with each parent, which could end up with the conclusion that you’re not abusive or neglectful. Make sure you’re supporting your case with other witness testimony too.
You need an aggressive legal strategy with which to work
There’s a lot to lose in your custody battle. That’s why you need to know all of your legal options. Only then can you develop the aggressive legal strategy that you need to protect your and your child’s best interests.
By speaking with a legal team that is well versed in these sorts of disputes, you can learn how best to approach the facts of your case. Then you can make the fully informed decisions that you think advance your position and best support your child.
We know that these matters are stressful, but you can diligently work to build a strong case that increases the chances that you’ll achieve the outcome that is right for you and your child. An attorney can help you fight for that outcome.