A Guide to False Allegations of Abuse in Child Custody Cases
During child custody cases a parent/guardian unfortunately may report malicious fabrications of abuse, reflecting an emotional desperation which could otherwise be avoided. It is undoubtedly a source of extreme trauma for both the child involved and the accused, compromising a parent/guardian’s integrity and reputation, perhaps even temporarily separating the child and parent. Due to the laborious and stressful nature of these cases, they are treated with the utmost urgency by a court, attempting to conduct the trial swiftly and reduce emotional strain on those involved. Noble Solicitors recognises the difficulty involved in these cases, and are therefore equipped with a team of expert family lawyers to guide parents/guardians through the process. It is essential to seek legal advice first, prior to making any contact with social services or the parent maintaining allegations of abuse, as this aids the trial significantly.
What is a Custody Case?
Child custody law establishes who should be responsible for the care and charge of a child after divorce or separation. The term ‘custody’ is more frequently referred to as residency, meaning there must be an agreement as to where the child’s main residence is following a parental break up. In most cases where parents separate or divorce, their preference is to opt for joint custody (or residency), allowing the child to spend an equal amount of time with each parent. With joint custody, the parents agree they each have the right to make decisions that may affect the child. Naturally, with allegations of abuse, a parent is claiming that the other is unfit to care for the child.
Usually, parents are encouraged to come to an agreement regarding custody of the child without the input of a court, as it is believed that this has the best interest of the child in mind. In order to do this, parents are required to produce evidence that they have attended a Mediation Information and Assessment meeting, which is undertaken by the Family Mediation Service. Yet, when there have been allegations of abuse in custody cases, the nature of the proceedings alter, as the dispute will be taken immediately to court, in order to prioritise the child’s safeguarding.
How do false allegations of abuse alter a trial?
As previously mentioned, usually parents/guardians would be encouraged to resolve the dispute without the involvement of a court, yet naturally in order to protect a child, issues are immediately taken to court when allegations of abuse are made. Usually, when applying to court there would be a notice hearing, in which the other side is informed of your application and both sides attend court. Yet, due to the urgency associated with allegations of abuse, the application is taken to court without notice hearing, therefore the trial may take place on the same day of the application submission.
How does a court come to a decision regarding custody?
In any cases involving a child, the main priority is the child’s wellbeing and safety, thus a court will consider:
- The wishes and feelings of a child (if they are old enough for this to be ascertained- this will be carried out by experienced medical professionals, ensuring the child’s protection)
- The likely effect of any changes on the child and their wellbeing
- The particular needs of a child and a parent’s ability to cater to these needs (for example, disabilities)
- The harm that the child has suffered or is at risk of suffering if they were to reside with a particular parent
- The child’s educational needs (if of schooling age) and the parent’s ability to meet these needs
What happens when a parent is accused of abuse?
Perjury is committed where a person is proven to have lied in court and Noble Solicitors will assist in helping you acquire suitable evidence to bring to court, in order to prove this. In many cases however before this can be proven, social services will become involved to ensure the safety of the child. It is essential you instruct an experienced family lawyer, such as those at Noble Solicitors, so that they can accompany you to meetings with social services.
Unfortunately, the child may be shielded throughout the trial, so it may only be possible to be reunited with your child after the allegations have been proven to be false. It is essential to cooperate with the court, even if that means being separated temporarily from the child, but Noble Solicitors will be here to listen and guide you through this stressful time.
Speak to Noble Solicitors about your needs
At Noble Solicitors, our vastly experienced and highly trained team of family law solicitors fight for your rights and the rights of your children, working tirelessly to provide the best solution for the issues at hand – no matter how complicated the case may be. Our solutions are simple, realistic and achievable and you can learn more about us and how we can help you by calling us today on 07000 81 82 83 or by emailing email@example.com.
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