How to Deal with Child Abuse Accusations and their Affects on Visitation Rights

“i have 3 children and am divorced. my middle daughter age 6 said i touched her inappropriately during a visitation. i did not do this. since this dcf interviewed me, they referred to state atty office, i have not heard from the state atty office ever. this happened 6 mos ago. my ex filed a domestic violence restraining order against me, the judge gave me supervised visitation with a dcf facility. i see my children 2 hrs a month bi weekly for 1 hour at a time. my ex has remarried. i am 100% disabled and the children get disability benefits as well as $250 extra i pay in child support. my ss check is $1284.00 a month. now today i was served papers stating that my ex wants no visitation rights with my daughter and a continuance of visitation of 2 hrs a month with my other 2 children . my ex plays head games. my daughter has never been to counseling or to a medical dr. the papers state that she has been in counseling and wants nothing to do with me. they are asking to terminate my rights to my daughter. my papers state i committed a heinious crime of sexual abuse. i have no criminal record. this is false allegations. i have mutiple sclerosis and this is in recession now.

should i have heard something from the state atty office by now? can they take my parental rights from me with my daughter? why cant i have regular visitation with my other 2 children? if they take my parental visitation rights, am i obligated to pay child support? if i gave up my parental rights voluntarily would i stop paying child support and would the children still receive disability monies? i cannot emotionally only see my kids 2 hrs a month, its hard on me and them, they cry when they have to go, and always say daddy i want to go with you, why cant we? i have no monies for an attorney and i have not heard anything from my application with legal aid. i have to answer these court papers before 20 days. also i live in florida, should there have not been an advory hearing and a court appointed guardian ad litem?”

The laws pertaining to termination of parental rights in the state of Florida are found in Title V, Chapter 39, Part XI, Sections 801-817. Since I had trouble finding it, here’s a link: www.Leg.State.FL.US

Under Section 806, parental rights can be terminated if the Court believes to do so would be in the children’s best interests. For that proceeding, you would be divested of both your rights and responsibilities with respect to your children. Under chapter 807 you are entitled to appointed counsel if you demonstrate to the Court that you cannot afford an attorney. Pursue that option and take advantage of your right to counsel and ask a lot of questions. Additionally, the Court can appoint a guardian ad litem in the case.

Apparently somebody has either bought the “abuse” argument or they are otherwise erring on the side of safety. I realize it is difficult to prove a negative. If you are eventually acquitted of criminal charges (and there may be a significant statute of limitations) then, as long as your parental rights have not been terminated, you can begin the slow heal of your relationship with your children.

I usually advise people to do what they can for as long as they can to rehabilitate their image with the Court and their relationship with their children. Children only have two biological parents and it can be devastating to those children if either parent, with a desire and ability to parent, simply gives up on them. It is up to you to decide whether you have that desire and ability, and if you are still willing to fight to remain in their lives.