Haddon Heights Attorney Handles Divorces Involving Child Abuse and Neglect

New Jersey firm pursues safe solutions for victims and their parents

When one parent mistreats or ignores their child, the damage could be severe and lasting. Sadly, many New Jersey divorces include allegations of child abuse and neglect. This creates an even heavier burden for parents who must deal with the legal marriage dissolution process while making sure that their children are protected. At The Law Offices of Kelli M. Martone in Haddon Heights, I am an experienced family lawyer who is committed to securing a safe, healthy environment for clients’ sons and daughters. My firm will handle each aspect of your divorce with the highest degrees of professionalism and compassion as I work to help you and your children make a positive, fresh start.  

What constitutes child abuse and neglect?

Many divorcing couples argue about how to raise their children, but New Jersey’s Department of Children and Families has specific definitions for abuse and neglect. Knowing whether your situation qualifies under these standards might be crucial in how you address these matters during your divorce. It is important to remember that child abuse includes more than physical punishment. Emotional and sexual mistreatment are also classified as child abuse. Neglect is defined as a situation where a parent or caregiver fails to provide proper supervision, food, clothing, shelter or medical care for someone under the age of 18, despite having the financial resources to do so.

How abuse and neglect affect custody determinations

New Jersey law lists many factors that must be considered during child custody determinations, several of which have a connection to parental abuse and neglect. A young person’s physical safety is of paramount importance, and history of mistreatment casts doubt as to whether a parent is fit to take care of their son or daughter. Consequently, substantiated physical abuse or neglect by one parent makes it likely that the other parent will be granted full physical custody. Depending on the specific case facts, legal custody might also be denied and visitation could be restricted.

Effect of mistreatment on other divorce terms

Instances of child abuse and neglect could also have an impact on the financial terms associated with divorce. When one parent has mistreated their son or daughter, the youth will likely spend most or all of their time living in the non-abusive parent’s home. This could lead to child support, alimony and property division terms that are more favorable to the parent with physical custody. If the abuse involves improper sexual conduct or rises to the level of extreme cruelty, those are grounds for a fault-based divorce.

Proving that abuse or neglect occurred

In any circumstance, proving child abuse is a difficult challenge, especially when the victim is very young. Raising this type of issue in a divorce might be even tougher, because an abusive parent could claim that their spouse is presenting a false allegation in order to gain a legal advantage. My firm understands how to use witness testimony, medical records, physical evidence and expert reports to support a claim of child abuse or neglect. By investigating the situation thoroughly, I develop a comprehensive plan designed to protect your son or daughter, and to counter unwarranted charges lodged by your former partner.

Contact a New Jersey lawyer about the effect of child abuse on your divorce   

The Law Offices of Kelli M. Martone advocates on behalf of spouses in divorce cases where child abuse or neglect is a potential issue. My firm is located in Haddon Heights and serves clients throughout Camden and Burlington counties. Please call 856-432-4587 or contact me online for a consultation.