You’ve been falsely accused of abusing your children. What should you do?
Provided by Arthur S. Kallow
You’re a great dad and your life’s mission is to protect your children. Suddenly, you’re being falsely accused of abusing your children. What action should you take?
Attorney Jeffery M. Leving has represented many fathers over the decades who take this role of protector of their children seriously and strive to keep their children safe. This commitment is helpful in defending against false allegations, but it does not diminish the pain.
What should I do if I am falsely accused of abusing or neglecting my child?
It is important that you take these allegations seriously. The situation can rapidly escalate: Your children could be taken from you, and your liberty could be put at risk.
Here’s some basic information to help guide you through this difficult situation.
If you receive notice that a report has been made to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) that you abused or neglected your child, you should seek the assistance of a skilled attorney immediately. DCFS has broad powers and can deny you contact with your children until they are satisfied that you have not abused your children, and that they are safe.
Any communication that you have with DCFS will not be confidential, and may be used against you to restrict or prevent any contact you have with your children. It could even be used by the police to charge you with a crime and prosecute you.
These allegations generally take one of two forms: intentional or accidental.
What if the allegations are intentional?
This situation happens when someone intentionally makes false allegations against the father. A common example is that of a mother who fears she will lose primary custody of her children, and lashes out against the father with false allegations of abuse. The father is then left to defend himself against these claims, which is no easy task. It can require gathering evidence to counter the accusations, and the use of experts to help evaluate the situation and build a defense against the claims.
What if they are accidental?
Sometimes, reports are made that are not intentionally false — but they are false nonetheless, and it is equally important to take accidental false allegations seriously.
For example, if a medical provider sees an injury to a child, they may believe the injury was caused by abuse, and as mandatory reporters, they notify DCFS. The finger of blame is often pointed at the father, even though the injury may have resulted from a bully on the playground or another individual such as the mother’s new partner.
Do not ignore these allegations. Take the time to correct the mistake as soon as possible. A failure to do so can give the other parent the power to keep you from seeing your children even though the allegations are false. The services of a competent attorney are necessary in these cases just as in intentional false claims. Dealing with DCFS is just as serious as well.
Are there any repercussions for a parent who makes these types of false claims?
There are consequences for this type of behavior. Depending on the details of the situation the repercussions can include court sanctions as well as potential criminal penalties. In one example, a judge jailed a mother after she forced her daughter to make false allegations of physical and sexual abuse against her father to the DCFS.
These types of cases are not easy and must be defended aggressively but are well worth the fight. Fathers are wise to prepare for the battle and are wise to seek legal counsel experienced in this niche area of family law. At the Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving Ltd. we represent spouses, ex-spouses, partners, and ex-partners in complex matters involving divorce, children, custody, parenting time, abuse and neglect reports, and child support in Illinois and nationally.