Child custody litigation is tough. The parents’ emotions run high. They are bitter toward each other. One parent might accuse the other of emotionally or physically abusing the child. False allegations of child abuse are not uncommon. Combating false allegations is as difficult as proving them because the attorneys must present many, detailed pieces of evidence to resolve the issue. The experienced child custody attorneys at Boudreaux | Hunter & Associates, LLC, are well acquainted with such litigation.
Boudreaux | Hunter & Associates, LLC, limits its practice to family law, especially child custody. The firm’s attorneys are headed by two partners, Shannon Boudreaux and Kevin Hunter. Both are graduates of South Texas College of Law.
Physicians Can Assist Combat False Child Abuse Allegations
When one parent claims that the other has abused their child, an important source of evidence is the child’s physician. Under Texas law, physicians, like other professionals, have a legal duty to report child abuse if they suspect it has occurred. Whether a physician reported abuse amounts to an expert opinion on whether abuse occurred: No report means no abuse. Deposing the physician, and reviewing medical records, can assist in combating false allegations of child abuse.
Daycare or School Teachers
Another powerful source of evidence is a child’s daycare or school. Like physicians, daycare workers and schoolteachers have a child’s best interest at heart. Unlike physicians, daycare workers and schoolteachers spend a lot of time with a child. They are sensitive to the child’s moods, appearance, visible marks such as bruises or scratches and perhaps the child’s feelings toward either or both of the parents. If the child seems happy and is doing well, then daycare workers and schoolteachers add to the evidence combating false allegations of child abuse.
Combating False Allegations with Psychologists
Yet another source of evidence is a report by a psychologist. A trial court has the power to order that a parent undergo an examination by a court-appointed psychologist. The court may choose a professional that the court trusts. Psychologists are skilled in interviewing and testing parents to determine whether they are being truthful in accusing the other parent of child abuse.
It is important to examine circumstantial evidence when combating false allegations of child abuse. Abuse invariably takes place in private. In other words, no one is present except for the child and the abuser. But when no abuse has occurred, it might be possible to elicit evidence that abuse could not have occurred. For example, perhaps the alleged abuser could not have committed the abuse because that person was at work or with another person who could so testify. Likewise, if the parent alleging child abuse fails to make a report to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS), or take the child to a doctor immediately after the alleged abuse took place, circumstantial evidence exists that there was no abuse.
Amicus Attorney Appointment
The Texas Family Code includes another provision to help a court get to the truth of whether child abuse has occurred. The law allows the court to appoint an amicus attorney. An amicus attorney is a skilled family law attorney whom the court appoints to investigate the allegations of child abuse. After a thorough investigation, the amicus attorney then makes a recommendation to the court based upon the best interest of the child. Ms. Boudreaux has served the court system by serving as an amicus attorney.
Punishment for False Child Abuse Report in Texas
History demonstrates that neither the law nor the fear of God will prevent some people from lying in court. But the Texas legislature has granted courts a specific power that can help them in combating false allegations of child abuse. The statute provides that if a person makes a report of child abuse without a factual foundation, the court can consider it a false report, allow the false report into evidence at the custody trial, and fine the false reporter $500. A false report of child abuse can also lead to criminal prosecution.
Combating false allegations of child abuse is a daunting task. It requires skillfully assembling various types of evidence to demonstrate that no child abuse occurred. Contact an experienced Texas child custody lawyer at Boudreaux | Hunter & Associates, LLC, who are ready to help you defend yourself. Please call (713) 333-4430 or visit their website to set up a consultation.