False allegations of child abuse in a custody case are emotionally damaging to the accused parent as well as the child(ren) involved. Accusations could lead to police investigations, loss of custody, orders of protection or temporary restraining orders until they are proven false. Unfortunately, by the time allegations are disproved, long-term damage may have already been done to the child(ren)’s relationship with the accused parent.
Why Would a Parent Make a False Abuse Allegation?
In a child custody case, it is possible for a parent who holds a grudge or has negative feelings against the other parent to make false allegations of child abuse or spousal abuse. These are serious allegations that could give the accusing parent an upper hand in custody proceedings.
The emotional damage put on the accused parent and the involved child(ren) is often quite significant. The accused is likely to be separated from his or her children until the matter is resolved, the children may be required to testify against the accused parent, and kids might be subject to intrusive medical and mental health examinations.
How Are False Abuse Allegations Handled?
The court must take all claims of abusive behavior seriously to protect the child(ren) from possible harm. A judge could immediately grant orders restricting access until an investigation is complete. The accusing parent may seek to obtain an immediate order to gain sole custody. Meanwhile, the accused parent might work with a family law attorney to defend him or her against the false allegations by:
- Demonstrating that the accused is innocent of all false allegations
- Gathering evidence, including any police reports
- Refuting any charges made
- Proving the accused’s character is neither violent or aggressive
- Interviewing family members, neighbors, friends, and associates of the accused and accuser
These actions will need to be performed and evidence presented to the court that the parent was indeed a victim of false allegations. When allegations are unfounded, the court could order the accusing parent to reimburse the other parent for attorney fees, custody evaluation expert fees, and other court and litigation expenses. Despite a successful vindication of the accused parent, there is the possibility that there could be a continued battle for custody by the other parent.