PROBLEM WITH SPOUSE? WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IN CRIMINAL ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE BY SPOUSE?
It is often in divorce or child custody matter, one side or the other may raise allegations of criminal child abuse and allegations are made, the lawyer’s task will be to find out, “On which side of the law is my client?” In such a situation, unless an emergency arises the lawyer normally will wish to talk with his client before his client wishes to see the police. Here, the lawyer may need to give active listening to the client before advising what should be done. However, there is a need to act fast as suspected crimes need to be reported to the police in soonest possible so that police can be dispatched to the scene of crime or home to collect and to preserve evidence before evidence could be destroyed. A client who is falsely accused may face the loss of parental rights or dealings with the child and when accused of child abuse, it is proper that the client need to take proactive defence to rebut the criminal accusations. The accusations of child abuse are nothing, but, a strategy to gain sympathy of the court for custody of the child.
In some divorce and custody of child cases, false allegations of physical or sexual abuse against the other parent may arise and this can come in a couple of different ways. One scenario is that the mother may accuse the father of sexually abusing the child. Another scenario is that the father may accuse the mother’s boyfriend, an older male child from another relationship, or another male family member of physically or sexually abusing the child. Such false allegations of this kind can tear family and child apart and can easily turn the child to hate parents.
When making criminal accusations against the opposing party, it may often be the case that the accuser may forget or underestimate his or her role in an alleged crime. This can arise, for example, if drugs could be found in the home occupied by the family. The client can in such circumstances, be charged jointly for possession of the drugs if it is found that the client had knowledge of the presence of the drugs in the home.
To protect his client, the lawyer may wish to advise his client not to speak to anyone else, except to the lawyer himself regarding any criminal allegations until the lawyer has done a proper investigation and research on the law affecting the client. The lawyer may also wish to know what crimes could be alleged against the client other than criminal allegations of child abuse. An innocent client may also not be excluded to observe this rule. Normally, the lawyer may wish to advise his client to keep silent and not to implicate himself or herself of the alleged crime. This is because the law does not require a person to implicate himself or herself of the crime because the law only makes the prosecution or police to prove the case against the client.
When allegations of criminal wrong doings are alleged and surfaced during a divorce proceeding, early action by the lawyer can save his client the embarrassment and the possibility of life-changing criminal conviction and negative outcome of the divorce case against his client.