What should you do if your spouse is accused of child abuse? What if you don’t know who to believe, your child or your spouse? A situation like this can be stressful, emotionally draining and overwhelming. It is important for the client to consider what is in his or her best interest and then proceed.
AVOID TAKING SIDES
Accusations of child abuse may arise in criminal cases, divorce proceedings, paternity and juvenile dependency. When they occur, it is important for a client to avoid taking sides. I often advise my clients to take their time and listen to all the evidence before taking sides or deciding who to believe.
If for example, my client Mary is a mother whose child has accused the father of abuse. Mary may feel confused, she may doubt her child, or she may not be ready for her relationship with dad to end. If Mary does not believe that the abuse happened, I may recommend to Mary that she refrain from saying she does not believe the child. This is especially important if the child is with Mary and Mary wants to avoid having the child removed from her care.
I will remind Mary that if a social worker believes she is not capable of properly caring for her child, the social worker may want to place the child in a foster home or with relatives. Mary may want to say “I don’t know what to believe but I will do anything to protect my child.”
In this scenario, the allegations are against the father. However that doesn’t mean that Mary is off the hook. Mary will be required to complete parenting classes, therapy with the child, domestic violence classes, individual therapy, or group therapy. Although Mary is not the abuser, Mary must be educated as to how to avoid further abuse, how to protect her child in the future, how to protect herself from abuse.
Mary and others in similar situations must be willing to participate in the child’s healing process. If Mary is unable to do so or unwilling to do so, that will communicate to the judge or social worker that the child may be better off if placed with someone else.
Please feel free to contact me for a consultation at (626) 446-6442 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Norma Nogueda, Esq.
The Law Offices Of Vincent W Davis And Associates