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What You Need to Know about Child Abuse and Custody

Posted on : June 26, 2017, By:  Christopher Hildebrand
What You Need to Know about Child Abuse and Custody

What You Need to Know about Child Abuse and Custody

Child custody cases can be some of the most emotionally-charged litigation matters. Understandably, most mothers and fathers are extremely protective over their relationship with their children, and nothing kicks this instinct into overdrive like someone threatening to separate them from their kids. Many times, in addition to this ability, there are extenuating factors that contribute to the volatility of child-custody matters. Things such as substance abuse, religious differences, and other lifestyle choices frequently have a way of adding fuel to the emotional fire of these cases. Another unfortunate emotional catalyst is the suspicion or accusation of child abuse or neglect.

What You Need to Know about Child Abuse and Custody.

What You Need to Know about Child Abuse and Custody.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) takes allegations and reports of child abuse and neglect very seriously. Likewise, the attorneys at Hildebrand Law make this issue of the utmost importance when paired with a child custody dispute. If you’re concerned about potential child abuse occurring at the hands of your soon to be ex-spouse, you owe it to yourself and your child(ren) to schedule an initial consultation with our office. To ensure the best and most safe outcome for your children, it is critical for you to be informed. Our child abuse and child custody attorneys have the education and experience necessary to provide you with sound legal advice in your time of need. Contact us today at (480)947-4339 to schedule an initial consultation.

Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect

If you have suspicions that your child’s mother or father is being abusive or neglectful, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure what your first step should be. You might also find yourself wondering if the warning signs you think you’re seeing are, in fact, signs of abuse. The Arizona DCS responds to abuse, neglect, abandonment, confinement, and non-sexual exploitation of children. The department and Arizona Regulatory Statutes (ARS) provide copious amounts of information about these areas of abuse and neglect, briefly summarized below.

  • Abuse: Governed by ARS 8-201, inflicting, allowing, or failure to prevent physical injury to a child may constitute abuse and there are various types of abuse, including physical, sexual, and emotional abuse
  • Neglect: This is defined by the inability or unwillingness of a parent, guardian or custodian to provide the child with proper supervision and basic needs, causing unreasonable risk of harm to the child’s welfare and health. This may include cases of exposing the child to harmful substances or sexual conduct or materials
  • Abandonment: When a parent or guardian fails to give reasonable support or maintain regular contact with his or her child with the intention of allowing these conditions to continue for an indefinite period, the courts may recognize their actions as abandonment. This may include minimal efforts to support and maintain a relationship with the child
  • Confinement: This occurs when a parent or guardian restricts the child’s movements or confines him or her to an enclosed area. Confinement need not be physical and can include threats or intimidation to force a child to stay in a particular location or position
  • Exploitation: When a child is used by his or her parent or guardian for material gain, exploitation may be occurring

If you have concerns that your spouse is subjecting your child to any of these forms of abuse or neglect, seek professional legal counsel immediately after contacting the proper authorities. Attorney Chris Hildebrand is well-versed at what steps must be taken to properly investigate claims of child abuse. This knowledge is extremely advantageous to obtaining a safe and protective child custody order by the courts.

Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
A Google User
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20:31 20 Sep 17
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
A Google User
A Google User
21:41 07 Nov 17
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
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14:58 04 Oct 17
Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
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16:03 22 Nov 17
I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
A Google User
A Google User
22:14 28 Jun 17
Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
A Google User
A Google User
18:16 18 Sep 17
Kevin Park of Hildebrand Law was just what I needed for my divorce. He was very approachable and personable. He was quick to recognize what I needed and provided it quickly and efficiently. I hope to never need a divorce lawyer again, but if I know anyone else who does, I will definitely recommend Kevin.
A Google User
A Google User
19:22 23 Aug 17
I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
A Google User
A Google User
17:44 23 Jun 16

Reporting and the Impact on Child Custody

If you and your spouse are currently involved in a custody matter, and you suspect or have evidence that abuse or neglect of any kind is occurring to your child, it is vital to report any and all information you have about the alleged abuse to your attorney as soon as reasonably possible. Allegations of abuse can have significant ramifications on how the courts establish custody orders, and any information about potential abuse must be considered accordingly. Any reports of abuse or neglect to the DCS are considered confidential; however, it is important to note that there is the potential of being called as a witness to testify in any future court proceedings.

The Essential Knowledge of Child Abuse and Custody.

The Essential Knowledge of Child Abuse and Custody.

Arizona courts work very closely with the Arizona DCS as an investigation is completed into the claim of abuse. As part of their investigation, the DCS will conduct interviews with the child(ren) and siblings. The DCS often prefers to perform their interviews in a neutral environment, such as a school. The department will also likely conduct interviews with other family members or key individuals who may be able to provide information on the matter. Additionally, a home inspection is also likely to occur. Because the DCS takes the issue of child abuse and neglect so seriously, you never want to make reporting a potentially abusive situation lightly.

If your divorce and custody order is already in place and you have concerns about the safety of your child while he or she is in the care of the other parent, you can file an Emergency Petition. The court can temporarily modify or suspend the other parent’s time with the child while an investigation is underway.

False Accusations of Abuse or Neglect

When couples divorce, angry feelings can remain long after the dissolution of the marriage is final. Unfortunately, whether out of malice or misconstrued signs, there are times when false accusations of abuse are made by one parent against the other. These false allegations are not only dishonest, but they can prove especially damaging to the parent/child relationship and have severe negative repercussions on the falsely accused.

The Arizona Court of Appeals found just such a case in front of them in 2015 with Flynn v. Brown. Ms. Flynn, who had sole legal custody and final decision-making authority claimed that Mr. Brown, who had supervised parenting time, had molested their daughter. Through a lengthy trial, it was determined that no abuse occurred and the courts modified Ms. Flynn’s sole legal decision-making to joint legal decision-making. The court also deemed that the father/daughter relationship had been damaged because of the false allegations made. Aside from fracturing relationships, for the falsely accused, the ramifications can be severe.

The Arizona Court of Appeals found just such a case in front of them in 2015 with Flynn v. Brown. Ms. Flynn, who had sole legal custody and final decision-making authority claimed that Mr. Brown, who had supervised parenting time, had molested their daughter.

Through a lengthy trial, it was determined that no abuse occurred and the courts modified Ms. Flynn’s sole legal decision-making to joint legal decision-making. The court also deemed that the father/daughter relationship had been damaged because of the false allegations made. Aside from fracturing relationships, for the falsely accused, the ramifications can be severe and potential grounds for a countersuit related to libel or slander.

If you’ve got concerns about child abuse and have questions about how it may impact your current child custody case or order, or if you’ve been falsely accused of child abuse, contact the knowledgeable family law attorneys at Hildebrand Law. The intricacies of child ill-treatment and child custody laws can be incredibly overwhelming and convoluted, and you deserve to have an expert in your corner during your time of need. Contact us today at (480)947-4339 for an initial consultation.



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