What Is the Burden of Proof in Child Welfare Cases?

Proving Allegations

Generally speaking, the burden of proof is the threshold that a person proving a fact in a court of law must meet for that fact to be legally established as true. Meeting the burden of proof is what establishes an allegation as a true fact. In child welfare cases, the child welfare agency bears the burden of proof when making allegations of child abuse or neglect against the parent.

For a parent dealing with a child welfare case, understanding how the burden of proof must be met is very important. The parent is innocent of the allegations until the burden of proof is met. To do this, the state must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the child was abused or neglected. Generally speaking, over 50% of the evidence must support the allegation as being true. This is the standard burden of proof in civil cases. The evidence is typically reviewed at the fact-finding hearing, wherein the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (New Jersey’s child welfare agency) must prove abuse or neglect, as it is legally defined in New Jersey, took place. Various forms of evidence can be used to prove an allegation of abuse or neglect such as reports or evaluations, medical or school records and expert testimony. The evidence must be lawfully obtained and admissible to the case.

If you are facing allegations of child abuse or neglect, consider working with an experienced New Jersey child welfare defense attorney. You may have questions about how the burden of proof can be met in your case and what types of evidence will be used. An attorney can answer these questions and help you navigate the child welfare case process step by step. It is important to keep in mind that certain legal standards must be met before the court makes a decision on the permanent placement of your child or before actions are taken against your parental rights. An attorney can advise you of your rights and explain what must happen before the court can make such judgments. Then, he or she can help you defend yourself against the allegations you face.

Do you have questions about your rights as a parent? Williams Law Group, LLC can advise you of your rights and help you navigate the child welfare case process with confidence. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at info@awilliamslawgroup.com, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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