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 take more appropriate action.
1. Gather Evidence – If there is an accusation reported against you, take steps promptly to collect evidence that can prove differently. You need names, places, and dates that can show the charges are false. For example: If your ex-spouse claims you physically threatened her/him, but you have a receipt proving you were eating at a restaurant, that could disprove those assertions.
2. Seek Legal Counsel – While any general practice attorney can represent you in this situation, it is best to seek an a Divorce and Family Law attorney with experience 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: It is not uncommon when there is an accusation of child neglect or abuse that a state agency gets involved. Therefore, you should expect a child protective services investigation. While it may seem intrusive, the case worker is only doing his or her job; and cooperating is best for you in the long run. In some cases child protective services can quickly and easily learn that the accusations are false.
Successfully dealing with false allegations during child custody and divorce proceedings requires calmness and careful organization. Gather all your evidence to show that you are a good parent. Written affidavits from those who have observed your parenting can help. No one likes being accused of abuse or neglect. The best defense begins with knowing your rights. When you educate yourself, you can make better choices. Most importantly consult promptly with a seasoned legal professional to guide you about what to do and how to present it.
If you have questions regarding a family law or child custody issue, please call our office to speak with an experienced divorce and family law attorney.