Defending Yourself From False Allegations

By Molly Murphy

False allegations of physical and sexual abuse have become more and more common in the family court in the last few years. Whether a false allegation is made maliciously or made out of a feeling of concern, the result can be the same for the accused.

The court system must investigate all allegations of abuse, whether they turn out to be true or false.

Family courts have to follow the standard of what is in the best interests of the child as to their decisions. Once an allegation has been made, the judge has to take it seriously until evidence proves the allegation to be false.

There are several ways that an accuser can bring abuse and requested relief immediately to the judge’s attention. S/he could file an adult order of protection, a child order of protection, a temporary restraining order, or another motion designed to move the issue in front of the judge immediately.

Allegations of abuse made against a child have to be taken very seriously.  For instance, statutes in my state say that in cases where a parent is accused of allegations of abuse or neglect against their child, the Judge must immediately appoint a guardian ad litem.

The guardian ad litem is an attorney who has taken lengthy and specific training and will represent your child’s best interests. Both parties have the opportunity to speak to the guardian ad litem, who also has the authority to review medical, school and counseling records in their investigation.

If a parent goes to the courthouse to file for a child order of protection it is extremely important that they understand and know that the judge can grant for your child at the hearing the full order of protection BEFORE you fill out your petition. So remember to ask for ALL possible relief at the time of filing the petition.

At the full hearing, the judge can do the following in a full order of protection: temporarily stop the respondent from abusing, threatening to abuse, molesting, or disturbing the peace of the child victim; temporarily stop the respondent from entering the family home of the child victim, except as authorized by the court; and temporarily stop the respondent from having any contact with the child victim, except as authorized by the court.

When the court has issued a full order of protection after a hearing, the court may in addition:

  • award custody of any minor child of the parties;
  • award visitation, which can include supervised visitation;
  • award child support where appropriate;
  • award maintenance to petitioner when petitioner and respondent are lawfully married;
  • order respondent to make rent or mortgage payments, if respondent has a duty to support the child victim or other dependent household members;
  • order the respondent to participate in court-approved counseling designed to help child abusers stop violent behavior;
  • order respondent to pay costs of treatment for himself or herself and/or the child victim;
  • order the respondent to pay for housing and other services provided to the victim by a shelter for victims of domestic violence;
  • order a respondent to pay a reasonable amount for the cost to you for filing for the order of protection and for your attorney’s fees.

Allegations of abuse made against the other party also have to be taken very seriously. The accused may be ordered not to contact or be around the victim.  In most courthouses there are advocates for people who have made allegations of being abused.  Those advocates help victims through the process of recovery and will also appear with them in court on their court dates.

But what if these accusations are false? If you were falsely accused, I would recommend you hire an attorney right away. You need to be prepared to put together evidence and character witnesses and be ready to testify on behalf of yourself. Evidence can include text messages, e-mails or videotapes. You can only help yourself if you find witnesses to some of the alleged incidents. You will need your witnesses to either appear that day in court or sign affidavits of what they saw.

Finally, your best defense is yourself.  Upon your court date, you must appear in person. When you are in front of the judge, focus on what the judge is saying.  Do not interrupt the opposing party, snort or laugh. Try not to fidget. You will get your chance to explain to the judge what has happened. And remember, you will not be judged guilty until you have had a chance to be heard.

If you or your child are the victim of abuse please contact your attorney immediately.  It is important for you to get yourself and your child out of an abusive situation. Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located in 16 states.

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3 comments on “Defending Yourself From False Allegations

    In California, if you have two arguments with your spouse, that is enough for a restraining order. Not one, like in S.M. v. E.P., but two! Two arguments, or two instances of “disturbing the peace.” Crazyville.

    If you are hit with a restraining order, especially a bogus one, the best firm bar-none is the Restraining Order Legal Group. My husband was screwed over by the courts and his lying ex until he hired them.

    Not entirely true
    You are considered guilty until proven innocent in domestic violence cases and will likely remain in jail until the trial is completed. This is due to the broad laws regarding domestic violence. Women file such reports for several reasons including revenge. While the man is sitting in jail for a minimum of 6 months he can not only lose his income during that time but will very likely lose his job. Meanwhile his family is trying to live day to day without his income and very important presence. The domestic violence laws are extremely predujiced toward the filing party and the person the charges are made against does not even get the benefit of any investigation before he is arrested and jailed. This is financially, mentally and physically draining on the entire family, including parents, siblings,grandparents, etc. Women who do this are not prosecuted for filing false reports because of the current laws and therefore can continue to repeatedly file reports based only on thier word even if their word has been proven to be lies for years and the man and woman have not had any contact for years.

    Not in NY, first you can go to the police station and report and ask for an order of protection, doesn’t automatically land in a jail. Police do investigate before offering an OOP.
    You do not just land in a jail and sit there, that’s a false information. Unless you admit to committing an assault or have admitted to waving a iron hammer or nature of that type of weapon. Yes, that’s enough to land someone in a jail, for that night, next day you can be bailed out.

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