As a divorce attorney in Pittsburgh, allegations of child abuse is not something new. In many cases, people seeking to get a divorce are looking for leverage to use and hope to get a better deal when it comes to custody. The important thing to remember is that a family court judge is going to be determining the ultimate truth, or fiction, behind allegations of child abuse. Thus, it is in no one's best interest to try and manipulate the facts.
Assessing the accusation
If a client is falsely accused of child abuse, then it is my job to make sure the facts demonstrate that the other side is merely using this as a weapon. Similarly, if there is an allegation of child abuse against the other side, as a divorce attorney in Pittsburgh and an officer of the court, it is my duty to fully pursue these allegations and ensure that they are not a tactic.
Is the abuse real?
The most relevant thing to consider when there are allegations of abuse is whether or not they are founded in truth. If there is abuse, it is critical for a divorce attorney and for the parent to get child services involved immediately. The police may also be involved, depending on the severity of the allegations and the level of available evidence.
If, as a parent, a client suspects child abuse or can prove their allegations, I always recommend that they involve law enforcement immediately. This does two important things:
1. It helps to protect the child and will remove the child from an abusive influence
If a child is actually being abused by the other parent, it is critical to their health and wellbeing that they are removed from that environment. Only the courts, child protective services and law enforcement have the right to do that. Therefore, it is vital to involve law enforcement as soon as possible.
2. It can actually help with a custody case
The courts loathe severing the bond between a parent and their child unless there are mitigating circumstances. If one can prove substantiated claims of child abuse the family law judge will consider ordering supervised visitation or no visitation. The judge can keep this in effect until the abusing parent completes the necessary treatment. In some cases, the judge may eventually award sole custody.
As a divorce attorney in Pittsburgh, I always recommend that people get themselves out of an abusive situation immediately. This applies to their children as well. There are remedies that one can explore if there is a potential for abuse, violence, or a danger to the health and well-being of either the person filing for divorce or the children. It is important not to act alone and with impunity.
Rather, seek out the counsel of a divorce attorney who can guide you through what steps to take and make sure that you are operating within the boundaries of the law. If you have questions or want to know more about what steps to take in order to protect yourself and your child, then give me a call.
Note: This is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.