By Matt Allen
Editor, DadsDivorce.com and MensRights.com
His erratic and outlandish behavior has garnered Charlie Sheen a massive amount of attention the past week, but it also at least temporarily cost him custody of his children.
Police removed Sheen’s twin boys from his home per a court order issued after his estranged wife said she feared for her life, according to CBS News. Brooke Mueller filed legal papers saying Sheen threatened her with physical violence and stated, “I am in great fear for the children’s safety while in his care.”
CBS News reports the temporary restraining order prevents Sheen from getting within 100-yards of his twin children for roughly three weeks. (Note: image taken from Sheen’s Twitter page.)
Though not as publicized, fathers find themselves frequently defending themselves from accusations of violence as emergency orders are more often used now for strategic reasons in divorce cases.
Joseph Cordell, founder of Cordell & Cordell, the nation’s leading divorce law firm for men, said these orders of protection are usually easy to get, but a court still cannot issue one unless the petitioning party presents enough evidence to show abuse or even the threat of abuse.
“Though it varies greatly by jurisdiction, most states allow orders of protection to be granted without a full hearing,” Cordell said. “All one party needs to do is tell a judge, under oath, facts sufficient to show that they, or their children, have been harmed or will be harmed if the order is not put in place.”
Every day judges are called to evaluate the creditability of the parties and witnesses before them. Frequently, especially in divorce cases, hearings can turn into a “he said/she said” battle.
The only way to prove that the opposing party is lying and to have the emergency order overturned is to have objective evidence of the assertions you are making, and objective evidence to refute what the other party is saying, said Angela Foy, a Cordell & Cordell attorney in Wisconsin.
This evidence can be as simple as emails, text messages, or recordings that show what you are saying is true, she said. Additionally, calling people who have witnessed events to testify is very powerful.
In Sheen’s case, it is likely there will be another hearing to determine where the children should be permanently placed.
To prepare for any further hearings, here is what Foy recommends Sheen and other fathers do:
- Keep a journal of your interactions with your ex-wife and children.
- Keep track of your visits with your children, what you do with them, and maybe even take photos to show they are happy when they are with you.
- Document anything your ex-wife is doing that violates the order that is in place.
- Always have a neutral third party involved when you interact with your wife. This person can testify later as to what occurred during your interaction.
- Compile a list of people who can testify that you are a good, caring, and loving father.
- Most importantly, whether you agree with the order or not, you should abide by it. Judges are hesitant to help people who do not obey court orders.
Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located nationwide who advocate for father’s rights.