How to Deal With False Accusations

Were you ever falsely accused of physical and/or emotional abuse toward your spouse or children, usually to help your ex gain an advantage in your divorce case? Or are you worried that this situation might come up in your future custody battle?

Defending a bevy of false allegations not only potentially damages your reputation with the court, but it also costs time and money spent defending yourself.

While mere allegations of abuse are not enough to deprive a parent of physical or legal custody of the children, you will need to rebut any allegations with rebuttal witnesses and documents and point out why these allegations are just not true, according to domestic relations attorney Jennifer Paine with the law firm Cordell and Cordell.

Family courts are governed by the standard that everything needs to be in the child’s best interests, Paine said. If you can prove the allegations from your ex are false, that could be extremely damaging to her custody case since she will look like an unreasonable mother bent on keeping you from your children at all costs, according to Paine.

So the allegations may play a part in the analysis, especially if they are documented, but other factors the court will consider include your relationship with your children, your likely relationship with their mother after your divorce, her relationship with you, her relationship with the children, who was the primary caregiver, where the children have an established, familiar environment, where the children go to school, which parent is more likely to encourage the children’s current religious education, etc.

That raises the issue of when a child can testify and decide which parent they want to live with, but remember that the child’s wishes are usually only one factor that the court uses to determine the best interests of the child. According to Cordell & Cordell mens divorce attorney Erica Christian, a child can generally testify when they are of sufficient maturity to understand and take the oath to testify truthfully.

Usually by 12 years old a child can testify, and by age 15 or 16 if the child is of general maturity and has logical reasons for changing the custody, the court will often abide by the child’s wishes, according to Christian.

“As the child gets older, his or her wishes carry more weight,” she said. “The key is that the child has to have a logical reason for changing the present support and placement.”

As mentioned before, defending yourself against wild allegations can prove costly both in terms of time and money.

Of course, if your ex has unlimited financial resources and senses that if she continues to run up the legal fees that you might back off then you can expect that is what she will do, according to Richard Coffee, another Cordell & Cordell family law attorney.

That’s when it’s important to have a specific legal strategy for dealing with her conduct, including pre-emptive moves and documentation of issues, proposed modifications of prior orders to address abuses, and the possibility of obtaining attorney fees from her, Coffee said.

 


Matt Allen

Comments

  1. My husband has spent a trying in mesa county awaiting trial for false allegations. Funny story we have more than enough proof to show she’s lieing so why is he not home, why are we and our kids suffering and loosing everything, why won’t anyone listen to our kids. The accuser even admitted to secular abusing one of our kids and they are protecting her. Wow

  2. James Burke Says: December 29, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    The sociopathic behavior of my son’s ex-wife has cause a litany of problems for my son and his new family. My question is, can your firm represent my son in standing up to this criminal? He has given up trying to defend himself, and as a result lost his military career, promotion to LTC, Command, 1/2 of his retirement, two homes, three cars, and excessive child support. She made her moves while my son was on his fourth tour in the Middle East, catching him in a bad time while he struggled with PTSD. Fortunately, he has never assaulted her, not even touching her, while at the same time, she dragged him along her car with his arms caught in the driver’s window (has this on streaming video); biting him so often and so fiercely, he went to the hospital (has photos). She lives in Fayetteville, NC and he lives in Pennsylvania. I am a Chicago suburban resident. Both my son and I are retired US Army Officers, and her ongoing humiliation must be stopped, before real laws are broken by my son. Can you advise me with something more than reminding me to ‘mind my own business’? A son or daughter relationship with a parent does not change with marriage, and when the bully is the female spouse, it seems impossible to correct.

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