Dealing With False CPS Complaints

Posted by John Schaller | Aug 20, 2023 | 0 Comments

Unfortunately, family court cases dealing with custody issues can see Child Protective Services or CPS claims used across a spectrum of facts.  These can range from obvious abuse or neglect (often with quick reactions by CPS), to complaints that stem from genuine concern but where the facts don't clearly show abuse or neglect, to finally complaints over either trivial matters, or involving facts that appear clearly made up.  Legal representation can be critical in successfully dealing with these claims.  You can contact my office for a free phone consultation with a lawyer if you are facing these type of claims.

Family courts normally will defer to the CPS determination of whether a claim is “substantiated” or “unsubstantiated.”  While CPS determinations can affect the ability to exercise parental rights, CPS is not necessarily subject to the same limitations as criminal law cases in making their determinations.  Because there can be a heightened risk of CPS claims when a child “switches” custody for things like summer vacation, parents can help address future claims by doing things like taking regular pictures of themselves and their children through their time together.  If a child plays sports that involve bruising, likewise keeping a record of when small injuries like abrasions or other bruises occur can help address any complaints that stem from reactions to those sorts of injuries. 

CPS can demand that parents get drug-tested if there are credible allegations of drug abuse.  While the main CPS concern is whether parents are impaired by, or children exposed to, drug or alcohol abuse, obviously abuse the occurs close enough in time so that it happening while with the children can't be ruled out can cause CPS to substantiate a finding of neglect even if in fact it happened away from the children. 

While directly assembling facts to show that the claimed abuse or neglect did not occur is critical, it is also helpful to assemble facts that show the other parent has a history of making false claims in this regard, or otherwise is unreliable.  Further, a persistent pattern of false CPS claims can help support a motion to modify custody by the parent against whom the claims are directed.

You can contact my office for a free initial consultation concerning CPS complaints and other family law matters.

About the Author

John Schaller

Las Vegas, NV and Marion County, FL divorce and family law attorney John Schaller grew up in the southeast, then worked in the New York area for nearly two decades before relocating to Nevada in 2008.  John is an active member of the NV and FL bars.

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