Montclair Child Abuse Lawyer
Crimes against children have serious consequences in New Jersey. The allegation itself often brings family-based proceedings to a sudden halt. Whether an ex-spouse accused you of household violence, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (“DCPP” formerly known as the Division of Youth & Family Services “DYFS”) initiated removal proceedings, or you need help protecting your children, a Montclair child abuse lawyer could help.
Child neglect claims often involve complex legal matters invoking the state’s criminal and domestic relations statutes. Our dedicated domestic violence attorneys could provide guardian ad litem representation to children in need, fight for your custody rights, and defend parents against DCPP overreach.
Conduct Qualifying as Child Abuse in New Jersey
Child neglect and abuse charges generally arise against a child’s legal guardian, such as their mother, father, foster parent, or primary caretaker. Prosecutors may charge caregivers with child abuse for both physical actions, such as causing bodily harm, and omissions. Omissions include failing to protect or provide for a child while they are under the accused’s care.
Certain parties, such as teachers and pediatricians, must report potential abuse to police. Such reports can result in New Jersey authorities temporarily rehoming the child and filing custody modification petitions with a family court. The following conduct might constitute child neglect and abuse under state law:
- Sexually abusing or exploiting a child
- Enticing or encouraging children to engage in sexual conduct
- Intentionally or recklessly threatening or causing bodily injury to a child
- Withholding critical medical treatment from the child
- Failing to provide the children with necessary nutrition, hydration, and medications
- Abandoning or leaving the child in an unsafe location with negligent guardians
- Providing children with drugs or alcohol
- Systematically inflicting severe emotional distress and mental abuse on children
The New Jersey Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCPP) often takes emergency action to remove children before parents may respond to these serious complaints. Caretakers accused of child abuse in Montclair may benefit from immediately retaining an experienced lawyer.
What Happens During a Case Involving Claims of Violence Against a Child
State law grants family courts jurisdiction over all noncriminal proceedings arising from the alleged neglect and abuse of children. Domestic litigation associated with child abuse complaints may include a lawyer’s demand for emergency removal, a request for changes to legal guardianship, or an application to modify custody and visitation.
Regardless of the type of decision a court is making for a child, they must consider the best interest of the child. This analysis includes reviewing allegations of abuse suffered by the children while under their parents’ care. While no one factor generally determines the outcome of custody proceedings, substantiated abuse allegations nearly always result in a denial of custody, limited supervised visitation, or elimination of parental decision-making rights.
Even when DCPP removes a child, parents retain the right to explain their actions to a family judge. State domestic relations laws generally grant parents joint and equal rights to the legal and physical custody of their children. Any party opposing custody on the grounds of child abuse must prove the violation likely occurred and that the best interest factors override a parent’s default rights. Skilled attorneys can investigate these situations and serve as representation for a party who is either facing allegations of abuse or trying to protect their children from violence.
Reach out to a Montclair Child Abuse Attorney
Domestic violence against a child can cause immense strife within a family. Whether your child needs a legal voice or you want to challenge abuse and negligent allegations, speak with a dedicated Montclair child abuse lawyer immediately.
We can often work side-by-side with criminal defense counsel or DCPP representatives to protect the rights of parents and children in New Jersey. Call today for a confidential case analysis.