If you are going through a divorce in New Jersey, you may have concerns that your spouse will claim that you participated in a form of child abuse. He or she may make such claims with the intent of getting a settlement in his or her favor. If these claims are to hold water he or she must first be able to prove to the court that you were indisputably abusing your child in some way.
The state of New Jersey takes child abuse very seriously, and if you are sure you did not engage in child abuse, you will still need to create a solid defense. Part of this involves understanding what kinds of actions the court considers to constitute abuse.
How New Jersey courts define child abuse
According to the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, when looking at a purported abusive situation, the court seeks to establish that neglect, cruelty, abandonment or abuse took place at some point during parenting. If one or more of these is found to have occurred, it can affect your divorce.
Neglect includes failure to provide sufficient and proper medical care, education, maintenance, clothing or food to your child. If you exposed your child to unnecessary mental or physical strains, caused unnecessary pain to your child or inflicted unnecessary corporal punishment, it may constitute cruelty.
Abandonment is a bit different from neglect. You may be found liable for abandonment if you failed to care for and keep custody of the child, left your child at physical or mortal risk without protection or willfully forsook your child.
Abuse is a much broader term. It includes but is not limited to endangering the morals of your child, habitually using profane or indecent language around your child or allowing your child to be employed in a dangerous or unlawful occupation.