DELRAY BEACH, Florida. Imagine this. Your divorce is long over. Your parenting plan has been worked out. Your child custody questions are resolved and you and your former partner have a good co-parenting strategy in place. Alarmingly, some single moms and dads are learning that even after a parenting plan has been worked out and a divorce or custody battle has ended, that child custody issues can resurface—in sometimes frightening ways.
Single parents face many challenges. Juggling work, parenting, household duties, while also taking time for yourself—to enjoy a bath or sleep in on a Saturday morning—can be challenging. It’s a hard balance to strike even when single moms and dads have help. Some parents are learning that when Children’s Services get involved, parents can lose custody of their children. The New York Times recently reported on one woman who took a bath one afternoon and left the bath facing police questioning and the loss of her child. Her child had wandered to her grandmother’s house—next door. Neighbors called child protective services. Her child was taken from her, she was put in jail, and was required to attend parenting classes. Her daughter was removed for four days. For a whole year, the mother had to face visitations from caseworkers who inspected her home, checked her refrigerator for food, and inspected her child’s body for bruises.
According to the New Yorker, families can end up facing Children’s Services for a variety of reasons. A concerned doctor may call if a child falls or gets hurt. A teacher may call if a child appears distressed. An angry ex may call to change a child custody plan. While individuals in low income communities face more scrutiny, it can happen to anyone. A night of drinking, a loud fight with your ex that wakes the neighbors—any of these scenarios can result in Children’s Services being called.
According to the New Yorker, when one parent faces scrutiny from Children’s Services, the state may try to place the children with the other parent. In some cases, when a parent agrees to this arrangement, they may not be aware that they are agreeing to give up custody. Parents who are trying to attend parenting courses and meet other requirements may not always understand their rights when they agree to allow a friend, relative, or former spouse to care for their children. Without proper legal counsel, the consequences of these choices can impact you and your family for years to come.
Not all parents understand their rights as they navigate the complex legal process or navigate child protective services. To make matters worse, one parent, or one family, may call these services on the other parent as a form of retaliation or as a means to get custody. These cases can be complex and much is at stake. This is why it is important to speak to a child custody lawyer in Delray Beach, Florida, like the CMO Law Group. Our firm understands the unique challenges individuals face during or after divorce. If you are facing a more complex child custody battle, we can help, too. Visit us at http://cmolawgroup.com/ to learn more.