Can You Prove Neglect in a Custody Case?
The process of determining how parenting time should be divided can be complicated and you should have a child custody lawyer representing you if you are separating or divorcing and have kids with your partner. It may be especially important for you to be represented by a qualified attorney if you believe the other parent is a neglectful parent who is not able to provide a stable home life for your children.
At Brown & Charbonneau, LLP, we have extensive experience providing legal help to parents during custody proceedings. We can assist you if you are trying to negotiate with your ex to create a custody plan without litigation and we can also help you to prepare a strong case to present in court.
If there is suspected abuse or neglect occurring, often negotiating a parenting plan and sharing custody won’t work because you don’t want to put your children at risk. In these situations, it will be especially important to be represented by a skilled child custody lawyer who can help you to convince the judge that you should have sole or primary custody and the other parent should have only limited visitation. Give Brown & Charbonneau, LLP a call so we can begin gathering evidence to help you prove your case.
Proving Neglect in a Child Custody Case
California Family Code Sections 3040-3049 provide details on child custody cases and on how parenting time is typically divided by a California court when a separation occurs.
As a general matter, some type of shared custody is preferred. The court uses a best interests of the child standard to decide on custody, and it is usually thought to be beneficial and in the best interests of a child to be able to keep seeing both parents. However, if the child is being neglected in the home of one of the parent’s, then it may actually not be best for that parent to get shared custody.
Both parents have the opportunity to come before a family court judge if the issue of custody is litigated, and each will have the chance to make arguments for why the judge should enter a custody order which they would prefer. It is up to each parent to try to convince the judge about why their preferred custody division is in the child’s best interests.
This means you have to prove neglect so the court will see it is not in your child’s best interests to be left alone with your ex. To prove neglect, you need to show a child’s basic physical and/or emotional needs are not being met and that a child is not being properly cared for. If the other parent doesn’t feed the child, for example, or does not make sure the child gets to school, these can be potential signs of neglect.
Proving neglect can sometimes be a challenge, especially because kids often aren’t asked to speak out against their parents and because you probably don’t want your own kids caught in the middle. To help try to prove neglect is occurring, you may wish to try to:
- Getting video, audio, and photographic proof. If your child is not in clean clothing, has lost weight, or lives in an unsafe environment, you can show video proof or pictures of the substandard conditions. You do, however, need to be careful about recording people as some states have legal protections which prohibit recording conversations without two party consent (the consent of both parties to the conversation).
- Documenting problems. If you’re concerned your child isn’t eating, document his weight to show how much is being lost with the other parent. Keep track of school absences, illnesses, doctor visits and other signs of neglect after the child is with the other parent. The more concrete evidence you have, the easier it will be to make your case.
- Interviewing witnesses. Parents, teachers, friends, and neighbors may all have observed the neglect and may be willing to testify about it.
As you gather evidence of neglect, you should try whenever possible to leave your kids out of the process so they don’t have to end up talking with the family court judge. If you can’t leave your kids out of the proceedings, ensure they are prepared and emotionally ready to describe any neglect they have experienced.
How a Southern California Custody Lawyer Can Help You
No parent ever wants to see a child neglected or at risk, especially if it is the child’s other parent creating the unsafe situation. If you have concerns that your child could experience neglect when with your ex, you need to ensure you have a dedicated legal advocate on your side who can help you to fight for what is best for your child.
Attorneys at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP have decades of collective experience and the legal backgrounds necessary to present a solid case in family court. To learn more about how an Irvine child custody lawyer can help you to argue for limited or no visitation in case of neglect, give us a call at 866-237-8129 or contact us online.