Child custody proceedings are an emotional and stressful time for a family. This process can be even more difficult by allegations of child abuse or neglect. If a parent or guardian is accused of actively hurting a child or putting them at risk or harm, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) will likely be involved. These allegations will also affect the court’s custody and visitation decisions, depending on the outcome of the DCPP investigation.
If you are dealing with these types of issues, speak with an attorney about child abuse in Short Hills custody cases. No matter your circumstances, a compassionate lawyer at our firm could offer supportive guidance and help protect the rights of you and your children.
In New Jersey, child neglect is defined as a parent’s failure to exercise a minimum degree of care. This means that the parent was reckless or engaged in willful, wanton misconduct by placing the child at risk of harm. Essentially, neglect means that the parent could have protected their child from harm using ordinary diligence but failed to take those actions. Any accusations of neglect or abuse could result in a DCPP investigation and impact an ongoing custody case.
If you believe that children who are your relatives being abused or neglected by their parents, there are any number of steps that you can take to ensure their safety. You can petition the court for temporary custody for as long as the issue remains. However, the court will want to know that DCPP has been contacted so that the division can offer services to the parents.
DCPP will want to understand why the parents have abused or neglected their children so that they can address the issue. Once the problem has been remedied, DCPP will look to return the children to their parents. An experienced attorney could offer further advice about seeking custody over children who you suspect are at risk of abuse.
Supervised visitation is not required any time DCPP files an action. In fact, the regulations that govern DCPP state that visitation is to be unsupervised and unrestricted unless there is a reason otherwise. Any time the Division seeks supervised visitation, they must give you notice and an explanation. The court must also give fact findings and legal reasons for any ordered restrictions.
In any DCPP action, it is common for the Division to review the issue of supervised visitation as you progress through the process. If the Division offers you services, you should consult with your attorney on whether accepting those services is beneficial in your circumstances. A seasoned lawyer could advise you on the fastest route to regain unsupervised time with your child.
For the Division to remove your children from your custody, they must find that there is an imminent risk of harm to the children’s safety and well-being. In cases involving domestic violence, the children are typically not removed from the home. Rather, the alleged perpetrator may be asked to leave the house.
The Division will then present a safety and protection plan that requires the alleged perpetrator to remain out of the home during an investigation. If you choose to sign such a plan, DCPP may evaluate you, your children, and the alleged perpetrator to determine whether your children are at risk of harm.
However, you should consult a skilled lawyer on whether cooperating with DCPP is in the best interests of you and your children. These investigations could have a significant impact on any ongoing or future custody proceedings, so it is important to seek legal advice on your specific circumstances.
Allegations of child abuse can add emotional weight to an already difficult divorce or custody case. If you are dealing with familial issues, contact a dedicated lawyer to help protect your children and work toward a positive resolution. The attorneys at our firm understand the complexities of handling child abuse in Short Hills custody cases. Call us today to learn how we could help you.