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Unfortunately, parents may go to great lengths to retain primary custody or sole custody over their minor child. In your case, your former spouse may even resort to wrongly accusing you of being an unfit parent, by claiming that you have a history of abusive behavior toward your shared child. Read on to discover how a child abuse charge may affect your custody case and how a seasoned Morristown child custody lawyer at Graves Andrews, LLC can help you ward off such false allegations.

How can false allegations of child abuse affect my custody case?

To reiterate, allegations of child abuse may give off the message that you are parentally unfit to care for your child. With this, the New Jersey family court may be hesitant to make you a non-custodial parent with some physical and legal rights over your child. Under drastic circumstances, the court may not even grant you a supervised visitation schedule with your child.

How can child abuse allegations lead to criminal consequences?

The New Jersey family court cannot and will not turn a blind eye to allegations of child abuse, regardless of how grounded they appear to be. Therefore, they may notify a criminal prosecutor that such accusations have been made against you in your custody proceedings, which may subsequently commence your criminal court proceedings. So if you are found guilty by the New Jersey criminal court, you may be facing the following consequences:

  • First-degree offense:
    • A prison sentence of 10 to 20 years.
    • A fine of up to $250,000.
    • A lifelong requirement to register as a convicted sex offender.
  • Second-degree offense:
    • A prison sentence of five to 10 years.
    • A fine of up to $150,000.
  • Third-degree offense:
    • A prison sentence of three to five years.
    • A fine of up to $15,000.
  • Fourth-degree offense:
    • A prison sentence of 18 months.
    • A fine of up to $10,000.

How can I effectively defend against these false accusations?

Your overarching argument may be that your former spouse has a motive to lie about your being abusive; that is, they are fighting for sole physical and legal custody over your child. From here, you may adopt any of the following criminal defense strategies:

  • You may gather positive character witness statements.
  • You may collect witness testimonies that align with your alibi.
  • You may pass a lie detector test and a physiological evaluation.
  • You may submit evidence that points to an alternative, reasonable theory of the incident.
  • You may argue that there are gaps or holes in your former spouse’s investigation or evidence.

Undoubtedly, you must put a lot of thought into your defense strategy. So your next order of business should be to initiate a conversation with a competent Morristown criminal defense lawyer. Someone at Graves Andrews, LLC is awaiting your phone call.