Divorces are stressful events. A marriage is ending, decisions need to be made, and sometimes those decisions can result in contentious arguments and ugly accusations. Divorces can bring out the absolute worst in some people, especially if there is a custody battle involved. Parents can sometimes go to great lengths to get what they want. Sometimes, unfortunately, this includes using the legal system to get leverage for custody. To achieve this leverage, a divorcing spouse may choose to accuse their spouse of abusing their children.
Repercussions of a Child Abuse Claim in Custody Disputes
If you are in the middle of a divorce, and your spouse accuses you of abusing or neglecting the children you have together, you could be facing serious difficulties in the divorce proceeding. Just as serious are the potential criminal charges that could result from these lies.
One of the biggest discussions included in every divorce proceeding in which children are involved is the topic of child custody. This includes legal custody – which parent has the right to make important decisions regarding the child, as well as how parenting time will be divided between the parents.
An allegation of child abuse throws a wrench into this whole discussion. If the allegation carries any weight at all or is not dealt with quickly and emphatically, it can lead to the divorce judge giving sole custody to your spouse, and could even make the judge hesitate to give you any parental rights at all. Even if you are granted some time with your children, this is likely to be supervised, which can make it difficult for you to continue to have a strong parental bond with your children.
Additionally, if the allegation of child abuse is not handled properly in its early stages, it can quickly balloon out of proportion, growing from a mere allegation to an investigation, complete with uncomfortable interviews and orders of protection being issued to keep you away from your children.
In the worst-case scenario, if the investigation uncovers anything, you could find yourself facing criminal charges of domestic violence or child abuse. If the situation gets this far, you will find yourself in need of a criminal attorney who can defend you against these charges.
Because of how quickly child abuse allegations can turn from an underhanded leverage tactic in a divorce proceeding into a criminal charge, it is crucial to have a skilled divorce lawyer representing you from the start of your divorce process. Make sure to work with a divorce lawyer who has extensive experience in divorce and family law to make sure they have the insight and legal expertise to protect you from unfounded allegations of child abuse, as well as ensure your parental rights are protected.