What are the most common false allegations, and who makes them?
The most common false allegations made are allegations of child molestation, domestic violence, and sexual abuse. Allegations of drug and alcohol abuse are slightly less common, as are allegations of mental or psychiatric problems.
Most currently available information suggests that wives are more likely to make false accusations than husbands. When made in the context of custody disputes, mothers are the overwhelming majority of false accusers, in part because they are more likely to be believed than fathers who make similar accusations.
2. I’ve been falsely accused. What steps should I take?
The first step when falsely accused is to seek competent legal counsel, preferably with an attorney who is experienced at fighting false allegations. You may contact our office at 501-296-9999 to schedule a free consultation to discuss this matter. This is even more crucial if the allegation involves claims of sex abuse, child abuse, or domestic abuse. You should NEVER assume these allegations will “blow over” or be dropped — the chances are overwhelming that they will not.
3. How do I fight false allegations?
At the very least, to fight false allegations of abuse, you need competent legal counsel. You may contact our office by phone at 501-296-9999 to schedule a free consultation to discuss this matter. You’ll need to do your best to prove that the allegations are unfounded, malicious, or incapable of having occurred.
Unfounded allegations are allegations where there is no supporting proof and no evidence that shows that the abuse actually occurred.
Allegations are frequently made in the context of heated divorce and custody battles. They may be suspicious by their very timing and may be obvious to the trained professional or the informed layman.
Allegations that are incapable of having occurred are those with regard to which you can prove you had no physical access to the child (such as being out-of-town when the abuse is alleged to have occurred), or other factors that would make it impossible for you to have committed the alleged abuse.
4. Why would my ex or another party make false allegations about me?
False allegations are often made to gain the ‘upper hand’ during a custody battle, to put the opposition at an immediate disadvantage, to tie up the other party with additional litigation, and to hurt the other party our of hate, fear, or spite. False allegations are an effective way of reversing the prevailing direction of the case.
5. I’m a good parent. Why would anyone believe these accusations?
In many cases, the investigating organizations treat abuse accusations as substantive even though no supporting evidence exists. These organizations, in their zeal to protect children, often ignore evidence that would disprove the charges, may fail to conduct a thorough and competent investigation, or may disregard the context of the charge, i.e. the fact that it is surfacing during a divorce or custody dispute.
The social services organization that investigates the allegation(s) is empowered to immediately remove the children from the home or prohibit the accused from having any contact with the children. They may do this regardless of the facts of the case. The judicial system, in turn, relies on the findings and the report of the investigating organization(s), and will often prosecute a charge on their word alone. In essence, these kinds of allegations are taken as true or “believed”, in part, because of the inappropriate and ill-considered policies of the judiciary and the social services organizations.
6. What will happen if the false allegations are believed?
If false allegations against you are believed, you may, at the very least, face fines and court-ordered therapy; at worst, you may face arrest and imprisonment. You should respond IMMEDIATELY to any allegations of abuse — whether they are about sexual abuse, child abuse, or domestic violence.
7. What can I do to minimize the chance of false abuse allegations from being make against me?
The best way to minimize the chance of false allegations from being made against you would be to have witnesses present during any potential time you would be vulnerable to being accused. Such instances would be:
- Any time you spend with your children. This includes overnights, day visits, trips to the mall, etc. If you are alone with your children for as little as a minute, it can be claimed that you molested them or behaved improperly.
- Any time you meet your ex, or are in the same general area that your ex is, it is all too easy to claim that threats were made or that some physical altercation took place, and all too difficult to disprove a domestic violence allegation.
Needless to say, ensuring that you have round-the-clock witnesses is hard to do. If possible, enlist a trusted friend or two who understand the gravity of the situation and are willing to help you out. If you cannot get someone to accompany you, you may be able to use a camcorder to help document events.
If you suspect you are likely to be falsely accused of improper behavior with your children and cannot get someone to accompany you, take your children to some reasonable public location or go visit with friends. The main thing is to be able to show that you weren’t alone with your children for any length of time. If the threat of false allegations is very high, you may want to consider not exercising your parenting time until you can arrange for a witness to be present.
8. My ex is seeking a restraining order against me, based partially on lies. What can I do if he or she has convinced the children to confirm or corroborate these lies?
Restraining orders based in part or entirely on lies or false allegations are not uncommon. One of the things you will need to do is to document everything that happens so that you can refute whatever allegations have been made. It’s also crucial that you retain an attorney. You may contact our office by phone at 501-296-9999 to schedule a free consultation to discuss this matter.
Whatever you do, do not fail to appear for any hearing scheduled by the Court. Failing to appear will drastically increase the chance that an order against you is granted or continued, and the provisions specified in it may likely not be to your liking or advantage. Your goal will be to provide whatever proof you can to show that the basis for a restraining order is false or misleading or has no merit.