It's unfortunate that there's a need for it, but there's a lot of information out there about child abuse in Arizona. Most of us have a pretty good idea of what child abuse is and the signs to look for in children. What we don't hear about as often is child neglect, so we find that many people are confused about what neglect is and how to recognize it. As Scottsdale family law attorneys, we get many questions about whether or not the other parent's actions constitute neglect, and we'd like to try to clarify a little bit.
What is Child Neglect in Arizona?
Child neglect in Arizona can be defined as a lack of supervision, medical care, nutrition, shelter, or clothes that poses harm to a child. However, as Scottsdale family law attorneys, we've seen more than a few heated divorce and child custody cases where this definition leaves a lot of gray area. For example, could you lose custody for child neglect if you leave a child at home while you're at work? Would it be considered neglect if you haven't done the dishes this week and had fast food for dinner?
If you're in a similar situation, and the other parent is trying to modify custody or visitation orders due to neglect on these kinds of grounds, you can relax a little. For the most part, the courts know that life gets hectic and sometimes a few things don't get done. Even though the accusations are hurtful and it’s scary to go into court, it's usually only when those sorts of issues really pose a risk of harm to the child's physical health or emotional wellbeing that custody will be affected. Dishes didn't get done last night? Probably not an issue. Child is showing signs of malnutrition? Definitely an issue. Any request to change custody due to neglect will be very carefully examined by the courts and Child Protective Services (CPS) to make sure that it is in the child's best interests, and that the child is safe.
Despite that reassurance, any Arizona child custody modification involving neglect is serious and can become very complicated and very emotional. If you need answers and direction, speak with one of our compassionate and skilled Scottsdale child custody lawyers today at 1-888-929-5292. We also recommend you take a look at our book, Arizona Family Law - How to Handle Tough Issues in Tough Times.