Anticipatory neglect—or the anticipation that neglect is likely to occur—makes the occasional appearance in family courts. Based on previous actions, it is generally reserved for cases in which the state has taken custody of former children, or when the death of former children was linked back to abuse or neglect. But does it have a place in divorce if one parent truly believes their child or children may be in danger if left unsupervised with the other parent?
Determining Anticipatory Neglect
Even in cases where a child has died or the parent has lost custody to the state, anticipatory neglect is a complex and difficult matter. Many factors must be considered, including mental health, drug abuse, nature of the former actions, and the weight of any criminal charges. In addition to these obscure but important factors, a family court judge must weigh the risk of life to the children in question—would it be better served by giving the biological parent a second chance through visitation or some level of child custody, or would the child’s quality of life be greatly diminished? Truly, it is a situation in which the stakes are high.
Potential Downsides of Pursuing Anticipatory Neglect Claims
Even if a parent truly feels their child or children may be in danger if left unsupervised with the other parent, there are potential downsides to pursuing anticipatory neglect in a divorce case. If substantial evidence is not produced, the case will most certainly be lost. In some instances, such allegations may even be seen as vindictive by a family court judge, which could put the accusing parent at risk for reduced custody or visitations.
Dealing with Child Safety Concerns in Divorce
When there are suspicions that a child may be in danger, appropriate actions must be taken to ensure the child’s safety. Unfortunately, this can prove to be a difficult task for a parent to do alone. Instead, a skilled divorce attorney should be employed; they can help guide concerned parents through the necessary steps for ensuring child safety remains a priority during the divorce proceedings.
Mevorah Law Offices, LLC, understand the complexity and sensitive nature of child custody cases. Dedicated to providing aggressive representation to all of our clients, we work hard to achieve the best results for you and your children. If you believe you should have sole custody of your child or children, contact our skilled DuPage County divorce attorneys for a free consultation at 630-932-9100.
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