What Happens When Child Services Becomes Part of Your Divorce?
There’s no question about it. Many divorcing couples are angry. Unfortunately, either husband or wife may reach into their arsenal bag and pull out all sorts of vengeful weapons. For some, that can mean calling child services. After all, there’s very little that can hurt more – than the fear of losing your child.
First, a complete disclaimer. There are absolutely times when a parent – or someone else – should contact a government agency regarding suspicions of child abuse or neglect. In New Jersey, most people think this means opening up a DYFS (Division of Youth and Family Services) investigation.
Meanwhile, you should know that DYFS changed names – to better reflect their policies and mission statement. Now known as the Division for Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP,) the agency’s “mission is to ensure the safety, permanency, and well-being of children and support families.”
That said, you should know that DCPP isn’t in a big hurry to displace familial relationships. When they identify problems, caseworkers attempt to provide resources to fix them. Meanwhile, removal generally only happens when children are in imminent danger.
False Reports to Child Services
Once again, parents who are concerned about their children’s welfare are entirely right to call for an investigation. You could easily become frustrated and dismayed if your child is showing signs of abuse or neglect. Some of the most frightening cases that merit a report include the following:
- Evidence of abuse – unexplained broken bones and bruises
- Concerns that your child is a victim of sexual abuse
- Signs that your child may be malnourished or lacking shelter
- Reports of capital punishment that seems to represent willful cruelty
Of course, these are just some examples of when a parent should consider seeking intervention. Meanwhile, children should not be used as pawns in a divorce. Children are often the ones who suffer the most when their parents split up.
In the meantime, making a false report to DCPP can potentially hurt your children – and your relationship with them. The agency will not only speak with your husband or wife – but will also check out the validity of your claims with your kids. If they’re made up, you’ve exposed them to more insult than they needed. Was that your point exactly?
Here’s something else you should consider. New Jersey is in the minority of states when it comes to punishing those who make false claims of child abuse or neglect. Although there are no penalties for doing so, you have contributed to a waste of resources. Investigating false allegations takes away from time needed for valid complaints.
So, what happens if you’re on the receiving end of a false accusation of child abuse or neglect? You should absolutely speak with an experienced family law attorney regarding your concerns. In fact, even if the allegations are true – you will need legal assistance.
The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone is committed to helping families with divorce and custody disputes. We are emphatic listeners and can help you through this most difficult time. Call us to make an appointment.