False Allegations in Divorce and Child Custody Cases
False accusations during divorce and child custody proceedings can be quite damaging, even if those claims are disproved. For example, orders of protection, which can eventually be invalidated, often cause the target party to behave in a manner that undermines their cases. According to a report by Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, such orders target men 85% of the time.
Making Sense of False Allegations
When it comes to divorce and child custody, there are many reasons why people make false claims. A soon-to-be ex-spouse may be desperate and willing to do whatever it takes to win. Perhaps he or she is spiteful, or maybe the person is emotionally charged and just has a skewed recollection. No matter the reason, if the court sees a kernel of truth in such claims, they can be harmful to the targeted party.
This is not a case of innocent until proven guilty. The onus is often very much on the accused to disprove the allegations. Some of the serious charges that a person can face include claims of:
- Drug use
- Child abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Domestic violence
- Verbal and other mental abuses
It may seem unfair that you have to disprove lies, but it is often the reality. Consider taking steps that can help you behave rationally during this emotional time. Therapy during a divorce or child custody battle can help you deal with these frustrations and remain focused on what truly matters. It is imperative that you have legal representation at this point. Your lawyer will likely advise you on collecting evidence that refutes the claims. Often, it helps to focus on the positive. If there are false claims of child abuse, for instance, work to show the court that you are an excellent parent. Think broadly in regard to the kinds of evidence you can produce. Evidence can include:
- Character witnesses
- Clean criminal records
- Credit and work history
- Time and location validation
- An activity log with time stamps
- Texts, emails, videos and audio recordings
There are a number of ways in which false claims can be made against you to the court. Understandably, there is great emphasis on protecting people who are victims of abuse. Therefore, it usually takes very little evidence to obtain a protection order. A protection order may be the most substantial kind of false claim that can be made against you. It is a legal document that inherently suggests that you are guilty of that which you have been accused.
Since such orders are often issued on an emergency basis, you may not even be aware of the charges against you until after the order has been completed. In such an event, it may be wise to retain an attorney who can navigate you through the evidentiary process. This is where you may contest the claims. Accepting the restraining order is the path of least resistance, but doing so is rarely a good idea since it can be devastating to your divorce and/or child custody case.
Determining Your Strategies
Your strategies for disproving the claims and perhaps undermining your ex-spouse’s case will depend greatly on the specifics. It is crucial to remain positive and not to sink the level of the false accuser. Even presenting a positive image to a judge can go a long way in mitigating damages caused by the false claims.
Seek Legal Counsel as Soon as Possible
If your marriage is breaking down and your spouse is making false claims against you, time is often of the essence. Your attorney could provide valuable legal guidance and assist with the collection of evidence to the contrary. At Morgenstern & Rochester, our focus is family law as it pertains to New Jersey residents. Our firm has handled many cases in which false accusations have been made. Let us help you. Contact us online or call our Cherry Hill office at (856) 489-6200 to set up an in-office consultation.