Department of Children and Families: Abuse Case

In a case involving the the termination of visitation, allegations that a father physically abused his child resulted in the immediate termination of his right to visitation.  The mother initially reported the alleged abuse in October, 2010.  DCF conducted an immediate investigation, including a forensic examination of the child, which confirmed the report.  Despite the father’s claims that the child was coached during her interview, the Court nevertheless terminated his access with the child per DCF’s recommendation.  The Department later substantiated the allegations of abuse.

Underlying Custody Action

In the underlying custody action, the mother filed a motion for sole custody, which the Court scheduled for trial in October, 2011.  During the hearing, the court appointed Guardian Ad Litem recommended that the father have supervised visitation only.  She also recommended that the father consult a therapist to understand, a) what the child had gone through, b) how he can help her feel secure, c) how he could help her cope with the abuse she sustained, and d) how he should approach a visit when the child was ready.  The G.A.L. further recommended that the father undergo seven to eight months of therapy before commencing visitation.

The Court’s Decision

The G.A.L. also testified that the child was thriving in the mother’s care.  Interestingly, the G.A.L., and presumably the Court, took the parties’ acrimonious relationship into account as well.  Indeed, the Court pointed out that joint legal custody was not recommended because it would keep the parties in constant conflict.

In light of the above, the Court ultimately awarded the mother sole legal and physical custody of the child.  The Court further ordered the father to undergo a clinical evaluation, individual therapy and reunification therapy before the commencement of supervised visitation.

Should you have any questions regarding DCF proceedings, or family matters generally, feel free to contact managing partner, Attorney Joseph Maya to schedule a free initial consultation. He practices out of the firm’s Westport office, and can be reached by telephone at (203) 221-3100 or by e-mail at