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Los Gatos divorce lawyer for child abuse claimsTragically, more than 2.9 million instances of child abuse are reported in the United States each year, and many more cases go unreported. For children, the long-term implications of abuse can go far beyond the physical harm they suffer. According to numerous studies, children who have faced some form of abuse are less likely to excel academically, socially, or psychologically as they get older. While it is crucial to always ensure the safety of a child first, it is also important to understand that some child abuse claims are false or fabricated. In family law cases involving child abuse, parents should be sure to work with a skilled attorney, whether they have been falsely accused of abuse or are looking to protect a child from an abuser. 

False Accusations 

A child abuse accusation can drastically impact a person’s life. Not only can these allegations lead to potential criminal consequences, but other areas of one’s life can be affected, including their reputation, their family relationships, and their ability to find or maintain employment. Unfortunately, many claims of child abuse are made during divorce. If separating parents are addressing child custody in court, the claim that one parent has committed abuse can have a huge impact on the decisions that are made. In some cases, a parent may make false claims of child abuse in hopes of swaying the court to decide in their favor, or they may do so in an attempt to punish the other parent and restrict their amount of time with the couple’s children.

In California, a report of suspected child abuse will be investigated by a social worker who will examine the evidence and speak to any involved parties. Upon completion of the investigation, the social worker will report one of three findings: unfounded (no abuse occurred), substantiated (abuse was more likely than not to have occurred), or inconclusive. A substantiated finding may result in criminal charges, and it will be considered by the court when making decisions about child custody and visitation. 

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Los Gatos, CA grandparent custody lawyerWhen children are removed from their parents in California, no matter the reason, the law requires that they be placed with relatives if there are any fit to be considered as guardians. Relatives may be defined as any adults who are related to the children by blood or adoption, or even someone within the “fifth degree of kinship,” which means stepparents or siblings, grandparents, great- or great-great-grandparents, aunts, and uncles, even if the relationship was through marriage. In these cases, it is essential to work with an experienced family law attorney.

Qualifying for Placement

If a family member requests that children who have been removed from their parents be placed with them, they will be given preferential treatment, meaning that they will be considered above any other foster parents. When children are removed from their home, a social worker must conduct an investigation to find all adult relatives of the child and do background checks, follow up on any past allegations of abuse or neglect, and conduct a home inspection of the relative where they child may be placed.

Social workers may also speak to the children about the relatives in question to try and make sure they get a good fit for placement. Social workers will also need to consider the following:

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Los Gatos postnup lawyerAfter you get married, you may learn a lot of new things about your partner. Maybe you did not know that your new spouse is bad with money, or perhaps you have become concerned about your spouse being unfaithful. You may also want to ensure that your children are taken care of if you should pass away, or maybe you are a business owner and want to protect your assets if you ever decide to get a divorce. No matter the reasons behind it, a postnuptial agreement can give you some peace of mind.

What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?

While prenuptial agreements are signed by both spouses prior to a marriage, a couple may also decide to sign a postnuptial agreement after getting married. Postnuptial agreements are legally binding contracts that can be set up to decide which party will take on certain debts and retain ownership of specific assets if the couple gets a divorce or separates. There may also be rules laid out for possible alimony in the future, and a postnup may include information about inheritances and estate planning in the case of either spouse’s death.

Additionally, postnuptial agreements could include “lifestyle clauses.” These address issues such as how often one spouse or the other may travel, how often they have to visit one another’s families, who is responsible for what household chores, and more. Some postnuptial agreements have been noted to include an infidelity clause, requiring a spouse who has an affair to compensate his or her partner monetarily by granting them certain assets during divorce or by giving up any rights to receive spousal support.

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Los Gatos CACI defense attorneyThe California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) requires teachers, doctors, and others who work with children to report any “reasonable suspicion” of child neglect or abuse. Reports can also come from other sources. For example, allegations of child abuse or neglect are sometimes made maliciously in the course of a bitter divorce or child custody battle. Accusations may also be made out of an excess of caution, or due to a misinterpretation of something a child says or does. Whether true or not, the mere accusation can be hurtful and affect your access to your children. 

Child abuse reports are investigated by a child protective services agency in the county where the child lives. In Santa Clara County, that would be the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). These investigations must be taken seriously, because they could result in your name being put on the state’s Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). This will show up on a pre-employment background check for any job that involves working with children.

A child abuse investigation will conclude with a finding of unfounded, inconclusive, or substantiated. If a finding of “substantiated” is entered against you with the California Department of Justice, your name will be added to the state’s Child Abuse Central Index (CACI), where it will remain for your lifetime.

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Santa Clara County grandparents' rights attorneyAfter a divorce, grandparents can provide an important point of stability in a child’s life. Grandparents can also provide emotional and even financial support to their grandchildren that divorced parents often cannot, due to the stress of divorce, the juggling of child care and custody, and the costs of maintaining two separate households. 

However, it can be difficult to maintain strong lines of communication between grandparents and grandchildren in the wake of a divorce. Fortunately, the California Family Code (sections 3100-3105) directly addresses the issue of grandparents’ rights to see their grandchildren.

When Grandparents May Request Visitation With Grandchildren

California law presumes that parents have the sole right to determine whether and when their children have contact with any grandparents. However, grandparents may ask a California court to award them visitation rights in certain circumstances:

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20 S. Santa Cruz Ave., Suite 212
Los Gatos, CA 95030

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