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How false accusations affect child custody hearings

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Child Custody, FAMILY LAW - Child Custody

Amidst the tense environment of child custody disputes, strong emotions such as anger and fear can drive parents to take extreme measures. Often, this comes in the form of abuse accusations in an attempt to secure primary custody. However, such allegations do not just disrupt proceedings but also heavily impact the well-being of everyone involved, particularly the children.

If you are on the receiving end of such claims, understanding what’s come may allow you to prepare for how to respond.

The weight of accusations in child custody hearings

When allegations of abuse or neglect surface in court, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) will step in to investigate. The DCP&P’s role is to ensure the safety and welfare of the children in New Jersey.

Although the agency aims to keep children and parents together, substantiated claims may compel them to take the following legal actions:

  • Petition the court to modify established custody agreements
  • Revoke or terminate parental rights
  • Place the child in a foster home

In addition, the DCP&P may work with law enforcement to examine the allegation. These inquiries may probe into your character, parenting and the people around you and your child. Such intense scrutiny may start to feel invasive and overwhelming.

Even if false, allegations can also extend the duration of a custody hearing and, thereby, increase expenses. However, what may be more disconcerting is the possibility of having the DCP&P interview your child. These proceedings could be an uncomfortable and even traumatic experience for them.

Defending against false accusations

It can be frustrating to face accusations, but not letting your emotions get the best of you is essential. Mounting a solid defense requires focus and a clear head. If you need help, an experienced family law attorney can assist with formulating a solid defense strategy.

Although this may be the most difficult situation you’ve faced, your child’s best interests can be a strong motivation to persevere.