When two parents who have a contentious relationship decide to split, they often find themselves in a custody battle. This can put a lot of stress on everyone involved and particularly have you up at night worried about how strangers are going to decide what is best for your child. Here is what you need to know about navigating these issues.
Custody Battle | Bringing Up a False CPS Report at Trial
Some people will take this so far as trying to file a fake CPS charge against you in order to get the children. You can bring it up in court, however, it’s important for you to understand that once a Child Protective Services Report is unfounded, you cannot subpoena those records and evidence of an unfounded hotline report cannot be introduced in a trial. You can bring up the circumstances of the investigation, you yourself can testify as to anything that you experienced or witnessed, and we can question your acts on the facts involving the investigation. However, we can’t rely on that caseworker coming to testify for you in your custody case once the report is unfounded.
You can mention this, and personally testify about the circumstances surrounding a false CPS report, but once CPS has deemed a report “unfounded,” it is not subject to subpoena and you cannot enter it into the record as evidence in a trial, nor will you be able to call a caseworker in to testify.
Custody Battle | Children Getting a Say
If you know your child does not like spending time with their other parent, you may be feeling at a loss. A child will have a “Law Guardian” who will stand on equal footing with both parents’ attorneys in the court, arguing on the child’s behalf. In the eyes of the law, a minor doesn’t have the ability – or the right – to determine his or her best interests. Just as a child under 18 cannot leave home without parental consent, so too, in child custody proceedings, the court will not in any case grant an order solely based upon a child’s wishes. That said, the older a child gets, the more weight a court will give that child’s wishes. There are no rules determining this “weight,” however – this is subject to a judge’s discretion.
If you have any questions, please call our Saratoga divorce attorneys today to discuss how you can avoid a potential custody battle.