False allegations of child abuse are serious accusations. If you’re a father who has been falsely accused of child abuse or neglect, you should be aware of what steps to take as well as the process the courts will go through while investigating the allegation.
Georgia Child Protective Services states that the following acts are considered abuse or neglect in the state of Georgia:
- Injury to a child under the age of 18 by a parent or guardian resulting in bruises, scarring, fractures or any other internal injuries
- The failure of a parent or guardian to provide proper housing, clothing, food, and supervision for a child under the age of 18
- Using a child under the age of 18 for sexual gratification
Whether the allegations against you were made out of malice, spite, or a mere misunderstanding, it should be taken very seriously. When a parent has been accused of child abuse or neglect, there are certain things that will happen as the court looks into the allegation. There are also certain steps a father must take when he is falsely accused to ensure that his name is cleared.
If you are a father and have had false accusations made against you, you must take immediate action and seek legal advice the moment you find out about the allegations. If you have been accused of child abuse, you are likely to first receive a visit from social services or even the police. If you have primary custody of your child, there is a chance that you may temporarily lose custody. If this happens, your child will be placed with a relative, his or her mother, or in foster care — although this only happens in severe circumstances when abuse or neglect is clearly evident.
If you are accused of abuse, a judge will investigate the claim and family protective services will become involved in the case. This can be a troublesome and tiring process, as child protective services will have to speak to and question you, your child, your family, and any other close relatives about your behavior. It is extremely important at this time to show your cooperation. You should also work with your lawyer during this time to collect evidence to show that you have not been abusing your child.
Depending on the severity of the allegation, a judge may suspend your right to visitation or custody until the investigation is complete in the interest of the child’s safety.
If no evidence is found of the alleged accusations, the investigation into the child abuse charges will be closed. The court will rule that the alleged abuse did not take place or that it was unable to be confirmed. In the event that no evidence of child abuse is found, you will regain custody of your child. If a judge finds that the accusation was not true or unfounded, it is possible that he or she may order the parent or person who has made the accusation to pay the accused parent’s lawyer and court fees.
If you are a father and have been falsely accused of abuse or neglect, it is imperative that you seek legal advice immediately and work with family law attorney who has experience with similar cases. Your lawyer will help investigate the allegation, answer any of your questions, build a case, and fight for you so that the truth can come out in a court of law. Contact our family law attorneys at the Law Firm of Caryn S. Fennell today to find out all your options during this difficult time.