Thomas P. Carnes
(830) 997-7790 968 Braeutigam Road
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624

Thomas P. Carnes, A Civil Trial Lawyer Serving the Texas Hill Country
Practice Areas

Family Law

Child Abuse and Neglect - Real and Unreal

Child and spousal abuse are real, and they are all too often part of a divorce case. Texas law, quite correctly, provides protection for partners and children who are the subject of abuse, in the form of protective orders. Texas law also quite appropriately provides remedies for the abuse in the form of presumptions against the abusing parent as an appropriate joint managing conservatorship and provisions, such as supervised possession, designed to protect abused children. Texas law also provides, again quite correctly, for a disproportionate property division for an abused spouse. In addition, our State’s Department of Family and Protective Services, commonly called CPS, does a fair job of acting to protect children who are the victims of child abuse or neglect.

That being said, many, many false reports of spousal and child abuse are made in the context of a divorce or contested custody dispute. The statistics on this phenomenon are staggering. According to some studies, more than half of the abuse allegations made in the context of a divorce or child custody dispute turn out to be baseless. Whether made with malice or based upon a misimpression, false allegations of abuse, and the resulting heightening of the risk of one parent being alienated from his or her child or children, is a significant issue in too many divorce and custody cases.

Like all experienced family lawyers, Tom Carnes has significant experience in acting to protect those who have truly been, or are in danger of being, abused. Unlike almost any lawyer in Texas, Tom Carnes also has a wealth of experience defending against false claims of abuse.

Unfortunately, any time there are allegations of abuse, whether they are valid or invalid, the case will be an expensive one. There will be an amicus attorney for the child, whose fees will be apportioned by the court between the parties. If it is a CPS case, there will be attorneys and guardians ad litem instead of an amicus attorney, to the same end. There will almost undoubtedly be psychological evaluations of at least the alleged perpetrator and any children, but probably also of the other parent. In a CPS case, county government will most often bear the cost of such evaluations – or at least the ones CPS deems to be necessary. In a private case, this cost will also be allocated by the court among the parties. How the court will make these allocations of professional fees, and attorneys’ fees, will depend largely on the relative ability of the parties to pay, and also the court’s impressions as to the veracity of the allegations.

This is not an appropriate place to expound further on these very serious and problematic types of case. Suffice it to say that Tom Carnes has represented parties in many, many cases involving allegations of abuse and neglect. He has represented the interests of those victimized – whether because they were the actual victims of abuse or were looking after the interests of abused children, or whether they were the victims of false allegations of abuse. His experience in this regard is on a par with any lawyer that you are likely to find in Texas.

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