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Many divorce and family law cases involve allegations of child abuse or neglect. Often, these are baseless allegations levied by a spiteful spouse trying to hurt you and your relationship with your children because they are angry about the divorce process. These are serious charges and if you are wrongfully accused of child abuse or neglect, your relationship with your children and your future are on the line. You need to act quickly to protect yourself, your children and your reputation. Here’s how you can protect yourself and when you should think about getting an experienced Long Island divorce and family law attorney involved.

How Family Disputes Can Result in Criminal Child Abuse Charges

Family legal cases are wrought with emotion, especially when children are involved. It’s not uncommon for one parent to attempt to gain control over a divorce or child custody battle by falsely accusing the other parent of domestic abuse. Because abuse tends to happen behind closed doors with few witnesses, little evidence beyond the initial testimony is needed to pursue criminal charges. Naturally, courts on Long Island act swiftly in cases of child neglect or abuse to protect children from harm. However, even when the allegations of abuse or neglect aren’t legitimate, custody and visitation rights may be revoked from the accused parent without real cause.

The Importance of Getting Legal Help

If you were accused of child neglect or abuse of any kind — be it physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional — it’s imperative that you secure legal representation as soon as possible. When the charges are levied against you, the state begins building a case against you right away. Even if the accuser ends up recanting their testimony, the state still has an obligation to pursue the charges unless and until evidence proves that no abuse or neglect occurred, or you were not the perpetrator. This means that you could still end up in court, even after your accuser withdraws their statement. Having an experienced family law attorney on your side can help you bring forward a solid defense.

3 Ways to Protect Yourself — and Your Family — from Child Abuse and Neglect Charges

Launching a multi-pronged defense strategy is critical after you’ve been charged with the neglect or abuse of a minor. You should:

#1. Collect Compelling Evidence

Evidence is going to be your most powerful ally, but sometimes obtaining it in cases of false abuse allegations is difficult. If the accusations suggest you were at home with the child alone when the abuse occurred, but you were out with friends at a restaurant, you could bring forward the receipt or a witness from the restaurant that can testify they saw you there at the time of the alleged incident. Any evidence of an alibi may be enough to exonerate you, or at least create reasonable doubt.

#2. Expose False Accusations

Perhaps you have no evidence that you didn’t commit the alleged act of abuse, but you have plenty of evidence to suggest that someone else has the motivation and means to levy false allegations against you. For example, say you have text messages from your child’s other parent that demand you give up one of your visitation weekends and that if you don’t, they will report you for child abuse. The quid pro quo is clear and evidence of this nature can be used to illustrate the probability that the accusations against you are false.

#3. Create a Record of Everything

Ideally, you’ve been using a co-parenting app or have been keeping your own records of communication between you and your child’s other parent. If you haven’t, it’s important to start now. Log all messages, phone calls, pick up and drop off times, and any other information of importance related to the shared custody of your child. In particular, record your activities with the child any time you have time with them. Keep movie tickets, restaurant and store receipts, and other proof that can both provide necessary alibis and speak to your character.

When Should You Hire a Long Island Family Law Attorney?

Child abuse and neglect charges can destroy your family, career, and your future. Working with an experienced divorce lawyer or family law attorney is crucial to protecting yourself — and your loved ones — from the consequences of a guilty verdict. Our Long Island family law firm is dedicated to advocating for parents and caregivers who have been wrongfully accused of child abuse or neglect. Contact us today for a free consultation at 631-923-1910.

Call 631-923-1910 or fill in the form below

Robert Hornberger and Christine Verbitsky

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Ann Masten
Ann Masten
17:48 12 May 20
I am a paralegal in an unrelated field of law. I phoned Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. today intending to refer a client to their office. Instead (and despite that we are the midst of the present crisis), Mr. Hornberger himself graciously accommodated my questions over the telephone, and was generous with his time and adroit in his response, saving our client a small fortune in unnecessary legal fees. I have not had any similar experience, in which counsel was so generous with his expertise, in 22+ years of interacting with prominent, local attorneys, and the client is overjoyed. Based on this experience, I would now whole -heartedly recommend this firm as trusted professionals to any client requiring a firm expert in family law and related legal issues.
Everett Roberts
Everett Roberts
14:30 18 Mar 20
Going through a divorce was very challenging and emotional. Searching for an attorney can be challenging as well when you consider everything that is at stake. The choice I made to work with Rob Hornberger was surely the best choice available. His professionalism, expertise, and understanding made him and the entire team perfectly suited to achieve the outcomes I desired. Rob was always available to answer my questions and give me advice and legal considerations that affected my situation. The support I received from his staff was exemplary as well. The staff was courteous, kind, and also very professional. Thank you so much Rob and team for a worry free experience.
Annemarie Cusumano
Annemarie Cusumano
21:41 17 Mar 20
Being in family court especially when your children are on the line is extremely emotional and stressful but working with Robert and Christine put me at ease and made the process as pleasant as a situation like that can be. I have a now 3 year old daughter (who is the most important person in my life) and I've been working with them for over two years since my daughter was 7 months old, the case has been up and down and through it all Rob and Christine have never given up. My original case was due to a neglect charge. Cps is not easy to work with, but Rob and Christine were vigilant and I ended up getting my daughter back within 8 months and did not have to plead guilty to the neglect. Currently I am in family court to figure out a custody agreement. They are professional, empathetic, and patient. They have always explained everything thoroughly, informed me of all my options and advised me of what my best option would be. They always respond quickly when I contact them with questions or concerns and most importantly they fight for me in court and don't give up even when things get rough. Before hiring Rob and Christine I met with other attorneys who did not make me feel confident or comfortable at all about my case, so I am very grateful to have found Rob and Christine and to be represented by such great attorneys. I highly recommend them for any family court matters and will definitely continue to use them in the future if needed.
Steven Frierman
Steven Frierman
02:25 07 Mar 20
After meeting with 3 different lawyers, we felt Robert understood us best and he genuinely had our best interests at heart. This helped us resolve a few minor issues in a timely fashion and make a potentially stressful situation go more smoothly.Thank you
Randi Gottlieb
Randi Gottlieb
18:47 03 Mar 20
Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. - Mr. Robert Hornberger and his staff are beyond professional, they quickly gave me my consultation appointment, and helped me with an after-Divorce issue. Mr. Hornberger was empathetic and explained to me what I should expect. Mr. Hornberger was extremely professional and advised me of my options, he helped me proceed with accurate and smart decisions. I wish I had Mr. Hornberger and his highly recommended staff when I was getting divorced. I would highly recommend Robert and his staff to anyone who is getting a divorce or in need of help with situations after the divorce!


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



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