By Tara N. Brewer
Special to DadsDivorce.com
Nowhere is a false allegation more prevalent than in child custody cases where every claim, no matter how baseless, requires attention and must be dealt with.
Many states are now taking action to remedy these tactical false allegations.
For example, Oregon recently passed a bill deeming false reporting of child abuse as a Class A misdemeanor. The bill’s main focus is to target adults who make false child abuse claims during divorce and child custody cases. According to the Southern Oregon’s Mail Tribune, the bill was designed to protect divorced dads; it was written by men for men.
Oregon’s bill calls for anyone who knowingly makes false allegations of child abuse to police or the Department of Human Services to face consequences.
According to hslda.org, a person convicted of this Class A misdemeanor could be punished by a maximum of one year in prison, a $6,250 fine, or both. These repercussions only apply if the state proves that the intent of the false claim was to influence child custody, visitation or child support.
Accusers rarely consider that these allegations could open their home up for inspection and their child to questioning.
DHS reported that 67,885 allegations were made in 2009 but only 28,584 were actually investigated. Of those investigated, 75% were found to be untrue. Because of this, 31 states penalize for false child abuse allegations.
According to Cordell & Cordell attorney Jennifer Paine, family courts are governed by the standard that everything needs to be in the child’s best interest. Mere allegations aren’t enough and proof of falsity is encouraged.
Despite allegations, the court still considers factors like the relationship with the child, the relationship between the opposing parties, the child-parent relationship, the primary caregiver, the child’s schooling, the child’s religious education and the child’s familiar environment.
Additionally, the child can testify and make decisions if they are of age. (Read related article: “Can A Child Choose Where To Live?“)
Dealing with false allegations presents a tough challenge for the accused because even if those claims carry no validity, the father must spend time, energy and money defending them.
If you are the victim of false allegations of abuse, contact a mens divorce lawyer near you who is experienced in fighting for fathers rights. Cordell & Cordell has offices located nationwide.