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Allison Williams Williams Law Group Family Law, Divorce, Custody & Support
As an attorney, it has always been, and will always be, about helping people. I'm passionate about my clients and I aggressively represent them. The Williams Law Group uses ethical means to create winning strategies. If you have a legal issue/s, we'd like to hear your message!



Child’s Fabrication of Child Sexual Abuse on the Katie Couric Show

Thomas Kennedy, a Father wrongfully accused of child sexual abuse, sits with his daughter as she explains how very easy it was for her to tell the false tale of sexual abuse. Cassandra, only age 11, at the time she lied and accused her father of sexually abusing her, answers pointed questions by Katie Couric. When Katie asked Cassandra how she was able to concoct such a believable tale, she admits to weaving together fake details from television, a friend’s confiding in her that friend’s own experience with child sexual abuse, and the fact that she had been sexually active. When asked by Katie how Cassandra could tell her tale so convincingly, Cassandra acknowledged that she made no effort whatsoever to try to be believable. She just made up the story, answered the questions posed to her and followed along with the authorities. When Cassandra decided to come forward with the truth, she initially disclosed that she had lied to her mother, but feeling the shame of her original lie, she then recanted the truth! This second recantation made her mother believe that the recantation was really false. Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence. Recantation is often attributed to a child’s feelings of guilt over the molestation and its disclosure, rather than the child’s feelings of guilt over the lie. Thomas Kennedy faults his attorney for tactical errors he feels contributed to his conviction. Handling the intricacies of child sexual abuse in the child welfare context undoubtedly requires skilled counsel. If you or someone you know have been accused of child sexual abuse, contact us at...

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DYFS (n/k/a DCPP) can only do so much

In an unpublished opinion, DYFS v. J.M., the Appellate Division has created a significant loophole in the notion, first established in DYFS v. G.M., that the offending parent is entitled to a dispositional hearing once he or she has remedied the harm that commenced the litigation. In J.M., the Appellate Division upheld a trial court’s decision to terminate litigation once the father had performed all services to address an act of excessive corporal punishment. During dependency of the case, custody had been transferred to the mother. At the end of the case, everyone agreed that the father had addressed the issue. However, because the father has lost his job and was not able to be neatly resume custody of the child, the case was closed. The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s decision to close litigation and noted that, once the father obtained stable housing, he could apply for custody any non-dissolution (FD) proceeding. Of course, this ruling leaves open a series of questions. Normally, once the parent has addressed the division’s concerns, the pre-litigation custody arrangement is reinstated. In this case, that could not yet happened. But, what happens when the father does obtain housing? Will the custody arrangement then resume based upon the father filing an FD action? Or, will the father have to prove a change of circumstances, because the Appellate Division directed him to file a “custody action”? What a significant amount of time passes between this Appellate Division decision and the time when father obtains employment? One could argue that the passage of time that the child has been with the mother constitutes a change of circumstances. However, isn’t that what typically happens during the pendency of a protracted, DCPP case, which usually lasts about one year? The parent is still entitled to have the prior arrangement reinstated. Why, in this case, is the father required to file a new matter for custody? It appears that this is yet another circumstance in child welfare law where the rules implemented are inconsistent with long – established family law principles. Another area is in foster parent litigation. We know that foster parent bonding, in and of itself, is not sufficient to warrant a custody application by the foster parents with the child has been in their care for several years. Yet, when that same child had been placed into the custody of a relative by the...

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