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Is Active or Passive Neglect in Child Custody Cases in San Diego Considered Child Abuse?

In divorce and custody cases, in San Diego and other areas of California and the country, one comes across diverse forms of child abuse. Some of the more common examples include physical abuse, sexual molest and neglect. Neglect can be used in many different factual instances and can be more difficult to “quantify” than sexual molest or physical abuse however can have the same consequences in regards to the child custody order by a San Diego Superior Court Judge. While physical abuse as well as sexual molest can lead to an order for sole legal and sole physical custody, these are normally an act or active conduct. Neglect can be the opposite and can be not acting as well as acting. For example, a San Diego parent who leaves their children in a trunk of a car while going to the bar to drink with their new fiancee can be considered physical abuse, it can also be considered neglect.

“Passive” neglect may be harder to prove than “active” neglect. Passive neglect is considered an inaction rather than an action as above. As such, it is neglect when a parent runs the super market to get food and leaves a child alone without supervision? At what age can children be left alone? Does not getting the children or child to school on time and they are continuously tardy constitute neglect? Does having a child who is overweight and in danger of diabetes and other health concerns neglect? Does not forcing your child to participate in physical activities as needed neglect? There can be legitimate differences of opinion on whether “passive” neglect has occurred. Is the non cleanliness of a home neglect? How unclean does it have to be for a Court to consider it neglect. Does not bathing the child daily and not washing their clothes constitute neglect. As this is considered, it the line can blur.

Destroying Your Credibility

A spouse or ex-spouse can observe signs of neglect, but trying to convince a Family Law Judge or a Child Custody Evaluator is not so easy. In the absence of clear proof, complaints are often viewed with suspicion and interpreted as just another way of gaining child custody and tricking the system. They do not like it as well when someone just seems to be wasting their time. As such, what is the best way to document and not look as though you are trying to “get even” or trying to change a parenting plan inappropriately? What evidence is needed? For example, a substantiated CPS allegation could be considered. An arrest of a parent for abuse, molest or neglect can be considered. Reporting by a “mandatory reporter” such as doctor or nurse or school official of neglect is often considered by the Court. As it is never appropriate to involve your children or child in the divorce case, it is a very fine line between what your children tell you and what you tell them. Unfortunately, as all parents know, sometimes children fabricate or even outright lie to try and obtain their own goals. In a divorce, this can be exacerbated. Taking your child’s “word” when the facts are not consistent may destroy your credibility with the Judge,

A San Diego Law Firm Which Can Help

The Law Firm of Doppelt and Forney, APLC has experience with sexual molest, physical abuse and both active and passive neglect cases in San Diego. A free and confidential virtual consultation with their office can assist you in evaluating the information objectively and in accord with the law in the San Diego Courts. Please feel free to contact them at 858-312-8500 to schedule your consultation if you believe neglect is occurring in your pending legal separation, paternity or divorce custody case.

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