It seems like everyone knows a story about false allegations during child custody and divorce. One spouse points the finger at the other and receives a restraining order from the court. The wife or husband recognizes that doing this will, almost by default, give them custody of the children and exclusive use of the family home. The accused parent then must defend themselves in court and prove these allegations false.
While false accusations are a legal mess, it is also terrible to have someone with whom you once shared a life make claims of either abuse or neglect. It is something no one is ever really prepared for. You may feel you should reach out to your soon to be ex-spouse, but this can actually make things worse for you. Additionally, trying to make contact could be used against you. It is not unheard of for there to be accusations of stalking, harassment, or violence when all you want to do is smooth things over. No matter how tempted, it is best to keep away, and, with a clear mind, take more appropriate actions.
1. Gather Evidence – If there is an accusation, reported against you, collect evidence that will prove differently. You need names, places, and dates that will show the charges are false. If your ex-spouse claims you physically threatened her/him, but you have a receipt proving you were eating at a restaurant, that would disprove those assertions.
2. Seek Legal Counsel – While any general practice attorney can represent you in this kind of situation, it is best to speak with a Divorce and Family Law attorney with experience in dealing with these issues. Only a lawyer with the right knowledge and experience can provide you with the best legal counsel and properly protect your interests.
3. Expect State Involvement: This is not uncommon when there is an accusation of child neglect or abuse. Therefore, expect a child protective services investigation. While it may seem intrusive, they are only doing their job and cooperating is best for you in the long run. In many cases, child protective services will quickly and easily discover the accusations are false.
Ultimately, successfully dealing with false allegations during child custody and divorce will require calm and being organized. Pull together all your evidence proving you are a good parent. While no one likes being accused of abuse or neglect, the best thing is knowing your rights. When you educate yourself, you will make better choices. Most importantly, allow a seasoned legal professional to guide you on what you can do and say.
If you have questions regarding a family law or child custody issue, please call my office to set up a consultation.