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All divorces are difficult in one way or another. However, some cases involve scenarios that are beyond the normal level of issues that arise in a divorce. Child abuse is a serious crime that will complicate a divorce hearing. Whether you suspect or have been made aware of your children being abused by a parent, know that there is help for both you and your children, and that justice will be served to responsible party. Here at JacksonWhite we take each case personally; as the members of our team have their own children, they are aware of the pain, betrayal, and anger that result from abuse cases. Having an empathetic yet aggressive attorney on your side will ensure that your children are protected and that the abusive parent is punished severely.
Forms of Child Abuse
As identified by the Centers for Disease Prevention, child abuse can be categorized into four areas:
- Physical Abuse
- Psychological/emotional abuse
- Sexual Abuse
Dealing with domestic violence in a divorce related to child abuse is also common, if you’re interested in information regarding domestic violence specifically.
Each of these forms of abuse is a crime and can cause significant harm to your children. If you suspect or have been informed that your child has been the victim to any of these forms of abuse, please seek medical treatment immediately. The safety and well-being of your children is the most important thing at this point. As a parent you are meant to be the safety and security a child needs, if one parent breaches this duty then we must ensure that it will never happen again.
How to Handle the Abuse and Obtain Proof
Taking your child to a doctor or psychiatrist (whichever is deemed necessary based on the circumstances) is important for not only getting your child the help they need, but it will document the events and give you medical documents proving the extent of the abuse. These documents will be a big help in ensuring that the abusive parent loses their rights and custody to the children and will create a stronger case for abuse if you press charges in a criminal court. Meeting with an attorney early on will help give you the additional assistance you need at this time. They will know exactly which kinds of documentation will be needed and can help to file a restraining order and get a temporary order to take away any custody rights the abusive parent has, pending a trial. Acting quickly is in the best interest of your children, they do not need to be left in harm’s way.
Neglect can be a hard form of abuse to identify and to prove because the line can fuzzy. What one person would view as neglect may be the norm in another family. The neglect must be causing actual harm to the child whether physical or emotional. Neglect is typically seen in the form of not giving a child their prescribed medicine, not taking them to school, not getting medical attention for the child, leaving the children unattended, or exposing them to illegal drugs or excessive use of alcohol. Even if your scenario does not match up exactly with one of those examples, you may still have a valid case for neglect and be able to get the parenting plan modified. An experienced family law attorney can help you determine whether or not the other parents’ actions or lack of action is in fact neglect.
Every single state considers child abuse as a significant factor in determining a parent’s rights. However, each state has their own laws regarding what actually constitutes child abuse. Each case is heard and considered individually to determine if abuse is present. Be aware, in high-conflict cases accusations of abuse are highly scrutinized and if your claim is deemed inaccurate then your rights could be at stake as well. This is when an attorney will be crucial because they will insure you have the proper proof and documentation before taking the claim to court.
The Most Useful Proof of Abuse
Gathering the necessary proof of abuse can be a difficult task. Many times he other parent is not present when these acts of abuse are committed, so it based off of claims of the children or physical evidence. While it may be difficult, it is critical that you gather the proper proof in order to back up your allegation of abuse. Many people use allegations of abuse as a tactic in court to sway the judge to their side, for this reason most courts view allegations of abuse warily and will need to be sufficiently convinced that the abuse did in fact occur.
The most useful for of proof you can get is the testimony or sworn written statements from witnesses or experts that prove your accusation. These testimonies or statements can come from many sources, such as:
- Child care worker
- Health Care Professionals
- Child Therapists
- Your child’s friends
- Anyone who has regular contact with your child or has a reason to believe the child is being abused
Other documentation provided by doctors and therapists will help to prove your case. These issues are typically highly emotional situation and will be difficult to complete on your own. Child abuse cases generally require that you have an attorney because of the complexities of the law, the case, and the situation in general. Accusations coming from you will be viewed as potentially facetious, however if you have an attorney on your side advocating for your children your case will appear more legitimate and serious.
While your child’s safety is your top concern, you need to be sure that you do not do anything illegal even if it was to keep your child safe. Taking your child from the other parent without the court’s consent or hiding them could land you in jail, which leaves your child in a worse situation than before. An attorney will help you get any restraining orders or temporary orders needed to keep your child safe, and do so legally.
Do You Need an Effective Divorce Attorney in Arizona?
At JacksonWhite, our family law team will advocate for you and your child and do everything in our power to keep you both safe. Abuse can be scary enough; let us help you deal with pursuing justice and ensuring the future safety of your child. If you are dealing with child abuse in your relationship, please contact our caring and diligent JacksonWhite’s family law attorneys at (480) 467-4348 to schedule a case consultation and begin the process to ensure your children are always protected.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.
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