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Child custody: the consequences of abuse allegations (PART 1)

The thought of divorcing someone you once hoped to spend the rest of your life with is not easy to come to terms with. It can be that much more difficult when children are involved. In the best-case scenario, the parents may amicably decide on a fair child custody arrangement that benefits the children involved. But as many Florida parents know, this type of scenario is sometimes far from what actually happens.

Recently, two news articles brought to light the stories of men who ended up being accused of abusing their child. While the circumstances of the two cases are quite different, the stories are real-life examples of how a parent’s custody status can be threatened when they are faced with child abuse allegations.

The first case involves a divorce and the custody of the couple’s son. During one of their visitation days, the father and his son were planning to eat out. While the son was adamant about wanting to eat at McDonald’s, the father made it clear that it was not going to happen. He told his son they can eat anywhere else or nowhere at all. Stubbornly, the child decided not to eat.

After being taken back to his mother’s home, the boy told her what happened. This prompted her to contact a psychiatrist, who later suggested that the father’s visitation be either limited or even eliminated based on his actions. Upset over her actions, the father is suing the court-appointed psychiatrist and asking her to return nearly $3,000 that he was required to pay to have her be part of their child custody case.

Most often, allegations of abuse brought up in divorce cases are found to be false, according to a divorce mediator, because one parent is trying to use it as leverage. It will be interesting to hear how this chain of events will affect the child custody case, which will resume in December.

In our next post we will discuss another case of alleged abuse involving a father and how such allegations can potentially impact custody.  

Source:, "How Saying No to McDonald's Might Lead to Dad Losing Custody," Beth Greenfield, Nov. 8, 2013. 

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