The Weight Of Courtroom Accusations

Witness swearing on the bible telling the truth in the court room

An accusation is a claim that someone has done something wrong or illegal. And when you make them in a courtroom, the judge takes them seriously. If you have been a victim of domestic violence or your children have been subject to abuse, tell this to your lawyer. Your attorney will devote an extensive amount of time learning about you and the specifics of your case. Get these details out early because your lawyer will know the appropriate way to present this information.

The purpose of this article is to explain the consequences of not channeling these details through legal counsel. For example, what happens if you make an accusation about your spouse when testifying? People may be upset with their former spouses to the point of being vindictive. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that when you launch an accusation about your spouse during a hearing that you are gaining ground or demonstrating that you are a better parent. As you will see, an open-ended accusation can lead to considerable consequences for your children. 

Accusations & Your Children 

When spouses make accusations, the judge will likely halt the hearing. It is essential to know that your children can be placed in emergency protective custody if the court has probable cause to suspect that the children are in imminent danger. And you may have provided the probable cause. Therefore, they can take your children without your consent. South Carolina views domestic violence as child abuse—so accusing your spouse of this could lead to the same result. 

The court may place your children in foster care, or they may be sent to live with relatives. Because of this, the Department of Social Services (DSS) becomes an added party to your case. DSS has 45 days to investigate the claims made in court. Additionally, DSS must determine if your relatives are an appropriate placement for your children, especially if it becomes a permanent solution. 

Ultimately, DSS has to conclude whether your accusation of abuse is “indicated” or “unfounded.” When the abuse is indicated, DSS will state what services they can provide the child with. There are four different categories of unfounded designation. 

  • Category I: Abuse and neglect have been ruled out
  • Category II: There is some evidence that abuse occurred 
  • Category III: The investigation couldn’t be completed 
  • Category IV: DSS determines that they don’t need to investigate, but there will be a record of this in case something arises at a later date

Category III usually pertains to situations where the child or family cannot be located. This would be an unlikely result given the scenario we are discussing. 

Cate & Brough

At Cate & Brough, our role is to protect you during your family matters. If you or your child have experienced abuse or neglect, allow us to use the law to give you the safety and peace of mind you deserve. Making accusations can have a significant impact on your children. Contact the experienced family law attorneys at Cate & Brough by calling us at 864-585-4226 to schedule a consultation.  

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Cate & Brough, P.A.

At Cate & Brough, we all have personal experience with family law and family court. We know more than just what the law says about your issue – we know what you are going through.

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