Writing Books/legalities in writing a book
My son has custody of his three children from a previous marriage. He has since remarried and my grandchildren have been abused, to some degree by the step-mother and CPS (child protective service). My question: I want to know just how far I can go without having to worry about being sued, either by the step-mother and/or CPS? Can I use names, agencies, etc.
I want this book to be a tell-all about what step-parents can and can not do also how the ‘system’ should or should not respond to accusations.
Specifically, you ask my grandchildren how things are going (while they are at dads) and they say ok, you ask the same questions when they are at their biological mother and they sing like a canary. They are afraid of repercussions with the step-mother. So again, just how much information can I include?
Any book that is non-fiction and based on a real life scenario such as the one you have described must have paper support in proof of facts. Documentation validating your claims must be evidentiary; true related episodes involving abuse documented and available for collaboration of facts if challenged, or yes, you can be sued. Any case deemed "public" can be written about involving names and agencies, but only if the facts are supported by proper documentation, eye-witness reports, doctors' reports also validated in support of claims and such. Issues involving abuse are extremely difficult to write about unless it's from the victims point of view or a proven case taken to court.
You must also be careful about the consequences of what you write too. Remember, these children will not be children forever and one day may read this book. If it's not true... the damage done would be irreversible.
If you are laying unsubstantiated claims against the stepmom, you could be sued for slander. Your reputation as a writer would be forever damaged in the publishing world.
If you have all the documented proof you need, write on...