How can a parent regain custody or unsupervised visitation after a child abuse investigation?

By Allison Williams
December 22, 2015

There are several steps that can be employed to regain custody after a CPS investigation has upended that access. First, if there's a concern that led to a change in custody and that concern is valid. The parent's best course of action is to get help. Whatever the issue is, if it's substance abuse, if it's mental health, showing that you're going to take the initiative to address the issue when something as serious as custody of your child is at issue, that you're going to act in the child's best interest, is going to go very far to impress the court. A parent with a substance abuse problem or even a mental health client is far more likely to regain custody if they acknowledge the problem and deal with it.

Second, there is some visceral reaction that parents often have that they need to start using everything that they have available to them to attack the other parent. Reciprocity and tattling on the parent who is not at issue in a child abuse investigation is rarely effective, very rarely.

If there are real issues, certainly the parent should raise them. But when you're accused of child abuse, you begin by countering that the targeted parent is not the real problem – it really is the other parent. The other parent has a litany of issues; the agency may actually come after both parents. That's an area the child may end up in foster care; the child could be taken from both parents and placed with a non-relative or with a relative.

Even if the child remains in the care of the parent who is accused of abuse by the parent who was initially investigated, you could have concerns that the agency is going to stick around for a much longer time now because they have concerns about both parents. It rarely does the family a service to start throwing allegations of child abuse back and forth.

Allison Williams is a Union, New Jersey family lawyer who is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a matrimonial law attorney. To learn more about Allison, visit her firm's online profile or thru her website

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December 22, 2015
Categories:  Child Custody|FAQs

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