While family law and criminal law are typically separate, there are times when the two intersect. When they intersect, the cases can become rather complex and that means that attorneys are required, but one of those areas of the case may be outside of the focus area. This is why attorneys with focuses in both area will work together to create one linear focus.
Nonetheless, the times that criminal law may intersect with family law is when there is a domestic issue, such as child protection. Perhaps the child needs protected due to an alleged domestic violence situation. Because domestic violence is a family matter and a criminal matter, the two areas of the law become twisted together, requiring a different approach from an attorney.
When a client tells an attorney that they have been accused with domestic violence resulting in a child protection matter, it is important to find out if the client has been formally charged with a crime. It is possible for clients to not know the status of the charges, but a Minneapolis attorney can search records at the courthouse to find out if there are any charges that have been filed. If an attorney does know, then it is important to be ready to take a stand at any hearings regarding the child protection matter and the criminal charge.
The reason why it is important to have family law and criminal law attorneys work closely together is because the criminal charge can have an impact on the family matter.
If a client is found guilty of a domestic violence matter resulting in a child protection issue, it will affect custody, visitation, could result in the disproportionate division of assets and spousal and child support. Even being convicted of a simple assault charge without any family violence finding can result in negative consequences.
If child protective services or the police have been called, the attorney will most likely subpoena the medical records, DHS records, and police reports so they can be studied. These materials can be helpful as can any 911 records, which can be requested within 30 days of the call. It is important to subpoena or request 911 recordings before they are destroyed.
Whether or not any formal child endangerment, child abuse, or domestic violence charges have been filed, it is important to consider the depth of the allegations, their effects on any family legal matters, and the possible criminal consequences. When these allegations are made, an investigation will be done to determine their validity. The child may be interviewed, as well as anyone around the child. The attorney can request a copy of the report and be prepared for the attempt by the prosecution to use the report as evidence in the case. The forensic interviewer who interviewed the child may also be asked to testify.
Failure to have the child protection matter and the criminal aspects of the case properly can have severe consequences. Much caution is used when proceeding in these cases and it is important that a great deal of legal knowledge and skill are injected into the matter at both the criminal and civil levels.