Social Services is a broad term categorizing non-profit, federal, state and county organizations that look out for child welfare. Their responsibilities include interviewing parents to determine parental fitness, interviewing children to determine if they’ve been abused or neglected, and taking children from homes deemed to be unsafe.
In the months leading to a child custody case, parents may believe that allegations of abuse or neglect to cast aspersions on the other parent will result in an improved chance of obtaining a better custody deal. Parents may genuinely believe that they are looking out for the child’s welfare. However, involving a social services agency in your child custody case may lead to more trouble than you realize. Always consult with your child custody lawyer before involving social services agencies.
The Social Services Process
Calling social services may prove to be a double-edged sword. While a legitimate complaint may legalize the denial of child custody to a neglectful parent, it may also turn the scope on both parents. If the parent you are complaining about makes complaints against you, then there is a negative file against both of you. Either parent may then utilize this negative file in family court, making the court case far more ugly than it has to be.
Some social services agencies assume that there is a problem with both parents and will interview your child extensively. Anything said by your child can tip the scales in one direction or another, and child services agents may make decisions that you believe are the wrong ones. Because they are not bound by legal precedents and in many cases do not even require certification or degrees in social work, this may be a frightening prospect.
Handling Child Custody Issues In Family Court
Many lawyers suggest that you attempt to handle all child custody issues solely in family court. A judge will weigh claims made by both sides about the negative parenting styles of either parent. Be sure to collect evidence to be seen in court, including photographs, recordings or other media if you are truly concerned for the safety of your child. However, by bringing in outside social services agencies against the child’s other parent, you may bring in a level of complication that you do not actually want.