Allegations of child abuse or neglect can generate criminal or family cases against the accused. In many cases a parent accused of child abuse or neglect by the State of Florida in a criminal case will also find themselves defending against a Supplemental Petition to Modify a parenting plan or custody. Sometimes a third case of an injunction for protection against domestic violence could also be brought.
Criminal cases of child abuse or child neglect are always a felony ranging from third to first degree felonies. Therefore, maximum punishments range from 5 to 30 years in prison based upon the injury to the child. Abuse and neglect of children are completely separate concepts. Child abuse generally requires an intentional act or active encouragement of a person to commit an act. Abuse requires action. On the other hand, neglect of a child is a failure to act, failure to protect a child from abuse, or an omission by a caregiver to the child. Neglect is taking no action. Neglect of a child may be based on a pattern or a single incident or omission that results in, or could reasonably be expected to result in, serious physical or mental injury, or a substantial risk of death, to a child. Any caregiver to a child can be charged with the crime of abuse or neglect of a child.
Parenting and disciplining styles differ; but, when one parent is accused of child abuse or child neglect and the co-parent is not involved, then the uninvolved co-parent may file a Supplemental Petition to Modify the time sharing or custody arrangement. Even if there is no formal arrest and the DCF investigation found nothing, the uninvolved parent may try to change things. A Petition can be filed before the resolution of the criminal case, and that puts the accused parent in the awkward position of having to defend themselves in family court while attempting to remain silent for the benefit of the criminal case. Incarceration of a parent is one definite reason courts will modify timesharing and child support.
Being accused of child abuse or neglect or suspecting a co-parent of abuse or neglect towards a child in common can wreak havoc on the soul. Unmarried parents who stand accused face a real possibility of two lawsuits against them at the same time. Understanding the interplay between the criminal and family systems can lead to better results. Whether the family needs help because of an accusation directed towards them or the family needs help making an accusation, we can help. To start the process of hiring a child abuse and neglect lawyer, please click, call or fill out the form.