- Published: Wednesday, 04 February 2015 13:30
There is no question child custody cases can be an emotionally difficult experience. When both parents cannot agree on custody, parties will have to essentially argue before the court about who is a more suitable parent to care for your minor children.
There may be allegations that the other parent is addicted to illegal or prescription drugs. There may be allegations the other parent leaves the child with a dangerous or irresponsible friend or other family member. Sometimes there is truth to these allegations, but often times there is no truth whatsoever. It is an unfortunate reality some parents do or say whatever they think will help convince a judge in the Washington, DC family court they are a more suitable parent for the children.
In some of the most bitter custody disputes, one parent will falsely accuse the other parent of sexually abusing their child, or allowing someone else to do so while the minor child is in his or her custody. If there was any truth to these allegations, there should be a full investigation, and any parent should do everything necessary to look out for the health and safety of his or her children.
However, when there is no truth at all to these allegations, your Washington, DC child custody attorney must be familiar with how sex abuse allegations are handled by police, social services, and the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.
It is important to understand how these allegations are typically made, and how it will affect your child custody case. An allegedly concerned parent will often take their child to doctor complaining about some type of abuse. The doctor is a mandated reporter, which means he or she must convey the allegations to police. While there must be some reason to believe the allegations, most doctors will err on the side of making a report rather than ignoring the situation.
Once a complaint is made, the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) will assign as a detective who investigates sexual abuse of children. This detective will be from the “sex squad” unit of MPD. Detectives will also contact Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA). The child will then be taken to DC Child and Family Services where a “forensically neutral” interview will be conducted and recorded. The interview is supposed to be conducted in a way as to not suggest how questions should be answered. This is very important because young children will often agree with interviewers rather than saying what actually happened. The problem in the case of false allegations is that the parent making the allegations likely had a chance to speak with the child and told him or her what to say.
Once an allegation has been brought to the attention to the family court judge, he or she will likely order the accused parent to only be allowed to visit with their child at court under supervision of court staff working at the visitation center. The judge doesn't have any discretion about this under most circumstances, but your attorney can work with you to fight the allegations, and get custody of your child back.
If you need assistance with a child custody matter in Washington, DC, please contact the Law Offices of Daniel A. Gross, PLLC for a confidential consultation by calling (202) 596-5716.