Child Abuse or Neglect
The Texas courts appreciate the bond between parents and their children and will typically take measures to maintain parent-child relationships in custody cases. In some instances, though, parents lack the desire or means to properly care for their children, and their actions or inactions place their children at risk for harm. In custody cases in which a court finds child abuse or neglect, it will take drastic steps to protect the child, which may include modifying or terminating parental rights. Courts take allegations of child abuse or neglect very seriously, and it is critical for anyone with questions about such assertions to consult an attorney as soon as possible. The assertive Dallas child custody lawyers of McClure Law Group are aware of the sensitive nature of child abuse claims, and, if you engage our services, we will help you seek the best legal outcome possible under the circumstances in a discrete manner.Child Abuse or Neglect in Texas Custody Cases
Under Texas law, any person who suspects a child is being abused or neglected must report it to the authorities. In Texas, Child Protective Services (“CPS”) investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect. While in some cases, parents in custody disputes may accuse their co-parent of such behavior, such allegations should not be made lightly, as it is a felony to knowingly make false reports of abuse or neglect with the intent to deceive.
The Texas Family Code (the “Code”) sets forth precise definitions of what falls under the umbrella of abuse, which includes but is not limited to causing a child emotional or mental injuries that result in a noticeable and significant deficit in the child’s development, growth, or functioning; physically harming a child or threatening to do so; and engaging in sexual conduct that is harmful to the child’s welfare. The Code defines neglect, as well. Examples of neglect include stating that leaving a child in a situation in which they face a substantial risk of mental or physical harm, failing to obtain necessary medical care for a child, and putting a child in a situation that requires actions or judgment beyond their level of maturity or mental capabilities, or failing to remove them from such a situation.
In ongoing custody disputes, a parent that believes their co-parent is abusing or neglecting their child can file a motion for a temporary restraining order. Additionally, any party that has standing to file a suit affecting the parent-child relationship and believes a child is being neglected or abused can seek such relief, but they must file an original suit first. The court will consider evidence such as medical records, physical evaluations of the child, mental health evaluations of all parties, and statements from the child and both parents in evaluating whether a child is the victim of abuse or neglect. In some instances, the courts will permit prior recorded statements of the child into evidence. If the court finds that a parent has abused or neglected their child, they may restrict or terminate their rights with regards to conservatorship of and access to the child.Meet With a Trusted Dallas Attorney
Texas courts will typically find that it is in a child’s best interest to maintain a relationship with both parents, but there are exceptions, such as in cases involving child abuse or neglect. If you need assistance with a difficult child-custody issue, it is prudent to meet with an attorney. The trusted Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group can assess the facts of your case and take the steps necessary to protect your parental rights and your child’s safety. We often represent parties in child custody cases in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Frisco, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, and Garland. We also help people with family-law matters in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can reach us by calling 214.692.8200 or using our online form to set up a confidential meeting.