A New Jersey Parent’s Guide to Protecting Your Child

Child Abuse and Neglect Are Very Serious Accusations That Can Drastically Impact the Outcome of a Divorce.

NJ Divorce with Child Abuse Accusations: A Complex Legal MazeChild abuse and neglect are very serious accusations that can drastically impact the outcome of a divorce settlement. According to New Jersey law, child abuse is physical, emotional, or sexual harm or risk thereof to a child under the age of 18 for whom the adult is a caregiver. Child neglect is the failure to provide the minimum standard of care, including adequate nutrition, clothing, medical support, and supervision. Allegations of child abuse or neglect are investigated immediately; if they come up during a divorce proceeding, they may extend and greatly complicate the proceeding. If you have been accused of child abuse or neglect or are being investigated by the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P), you need the legal support of an experienced family law attorney. Contact Bronzino Law Firm today at (732) 812-3102 for immediate assistance.

DCP&P Investigations Amid Divorce and Child Abuse Accusations

Any time a child abuse or neglect accusation arises, whether during a divorce proceeding or not, the New Jersey DCP&P will open an investigation. The DCP&P is a government entity charged with ensuring the safety and well-being of New Jersey’s children. As such, the department has a great deal of legal power to determine whether circumstances are adequate for an individual or married couple to retain custody of their child. When one spouse accuses another of child abuse during a divorce, whether that accusation is thrown out there spitefully to denigrate the other spouse or whether it is based on true concern, the DCP&P will open an investigation into the allegations. Child custody determinations will be placed on pause until the department reports its findings and recommends actions to the family court.

The Hidden Impact of Extreme Cruelty in NJ Divorces

Most New Jersey divorces are no-fault divorces awarded for irreconcilable differences. Fault divorces, which place one spouse at fault for creating circumstances incompatible with continued marriage, can also be awarded in New Jersey. Fault divorces impact divorce outcomes and occur when the accusing spouse provides evidence illustrating grounds for a fault divorce. Child abuse or neglect is not explicitly named as grounds for divorce in New Jersey. However, New Jersey law does list extreme cruelty as grounds for fault divorce. Most family court judges deem child abuse or neglect in the family an indirect form of extreme cruelty for a spouse, as the spouse lives in a constant state of stress, worry, and action for the wellbeing and safety of their child.

What to Expect When Child Safety is at Risk Before Initiating a Divorce Action

Legal Strategies for Protecting Your Rights While Facing Divorce & Child Abuse Accusations in Bay Head, NJWhen a spouse is concerned that their spouse is physically, emotionally, or sexually abusing their child, they may consider divorce. If you have such a concern, the immediate first step is to contact the State Central Registry, as well as law enforcement if you believe your child to be in imminent danger. Then, promptly contact a family law attorney to discuss how to move forward with divorce, as well as what the process is likely to include as the DCP&P will become involved. The DCP&P must complete its investigation before custody determinations can be made, meaning a lengthy and potentially costly divorce process. A family law attorney on our team will provide valuable legal counsel regarding the best time to initiate a divorce action and will help you consider the next steps to ensure that your child’s safety and well-being are immediately ensured.

Contact Bronzino Law Firm for Solid Legal Guidance if You are Facing Child Abuse Concerns in a Divorce

The New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part determines a child’s best interests to be the single most important factor in a divorce proceeding. Generally speaking, the court considers it in a child’s best interests to spend as much time as possible with the non-custodial parent, so that both parents continue to play a central role in the child’s life after divorce. When it comes to accusations of child abuse, the court will take swift action to initiate or complete an investigation into the allegations before making or amending a custody determination. The results of DCP&P investigations can provide the court with necessary evidence to severely limit a parent’s custodial and parenting time rights or remove them completely during a divorce proceeding.

The court can also amend existing custody arrangements and withdraw custody and parenting time rights after the fact. Because the stakes are so high, clear evidence must exist to back up child abuse or neglect claims. An experienced family lawyer provides comprehensive support in gathering all necessary evidence to develop a strong case for custody, whether one has accused their spouse of child abuse or has been accused themselves and must protect both their good name and their relationship with their child. Contact Bronzino Law Firm today at (732) 812-3102 to learn how we can help you protect the best interests of your child and continue as a supportive and loving part of their lives in Sea Bright, Rumson, Eatontown, Holmdel, Freehold, Middletown, Manalapan, and towns throughout Monmouth and Ocean County.