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Standing Up to a Spouse’s False Accusations During Divorce

Standing Up to a Spouse’s False Accusations During Divorce

Domestic violence and child abuse allegations are weighty matters that should be investigated. Unfortunately, some spouses use false abuse claims to bolster their petition for child custody, spousal support, or a higher allocation of marital property. Sometimes the accusations are an act of vengeance.

Spouses have accused the other of the following offenses in hopes of improving their case:

  • Domestic Violence
  • Child Abuse
  • Child Neglect
  • Drug or Alcohol Abuse
  • Other Criminal Offenses

If you are falsely accused of wrongdoing, there are steps you should take to defend yourself and limit any potential damage to your divorce case.

Red Flags to Notice

There are some warning signs that your spouse may be tempted to lie in order to get their way. Divorce sometimes brings out the worst in people.

You are vulnerable to erroneous claims if your spouse has ever exhibited the following:

  • Angry Outbursts
  • Extreme Jealousy
  • Controlling Behavior
  • Possessiveness
  • Gaslighting

These and other signs do not predict that your spouse will lie for their benefit. Nor does it mean that someone who doesn’t show any of these signs won’t. But you should take into account their behavior during your relationship to better understand how they may act during the divorce.

To be safe, you want to limit any possibility that your soon-to-be-ex would access your personal data. PINs, passwords, and other information should be changed and kept from your spouse. If they are making threats of any kind, tell friends and family members. Document anything (texts, emails, voicemails, etc.) that supports that your spouse could and would lie.

Make sure your attorney is aware of any concerns. At Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law, we always want as much information as possible to best prepare your divorce strategy. We have more than 90 years of combined experience, which means we have seen just about everything. That extensive time in the field enables us to help safeguard you against unscrupulous tactics.

Take Untrue Allegations Seriously

Don’t treat accusations of abuse or criminal activity lightly. You know they are not true, but often the burden is on the accused to prove their innocence.

Allegations that continue unchecked can have a devastating effect on the outcome of the divorce and other aspects of your life:

  • You could be jailed.
  • You could be fired.
  • You could lose visitation with your children.
  • Relationships with friends and family could be forever changed.

Any incrimination can be harmful, but the most egregious are those asserting child abuse or neglect. Even when the allegations are proven to be false, the children can be forever impacted and their relationship with their parents might never recover.

Cooperation Is Your Best Defense

You may be tempted to fight fire with fire, flinging accusations back at your estranged spouse. Maybe you want to angrily confront them. Doing either of those is usually not the most prudent route to take.

You first need to contact your attorney, who can begin to show the court that you are the victim of revenge and lies. Your lawyer will coordinate gathering evidence and witness testimony to support your side of events.

Should a restraining order be filed against you, abide by it. A temporary order is issued on an emergency basis, so you might not even know about the false claim until after the fact. In New York, a temporary restraining order remains in effect until you are scheduled to go before a judge in a hearing. You and your attorney should attend the hearing to defend against the charges.

If you breach the conditions of a temporary or final restraining order, those actions will be held against you. You will dig your hole deeper and face more consequences. Don’t meet with your spouse or anyone else named in the restraining order, even if they ask you to do so.

Consequences of Lying About Abuse

A spouse who lies under oath in a divorce trial is committing perjury. Fines, probation, and even prison time are possible punishments. The judge in the divorce also may limit the deceiving partner child custody or visitation privileges. How property is divided could also be affected.

Skilled Legal Counsel to For Your Divorce

Our award-winning legal team at Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law are dedicated to defending the rights of our clients in divorce, custody disputes, and other family law matters.

Our compassionate, knowledgeable attorneys serve Westchester County as well as the neighboring counties of Manhattan and New York City’s five boroughs. Our offices are open for in-person meetings, but we also offer phone and video consultations. Contact Friedman & Friedman PLLC, Attorneys at Law at (914) 873-4410 to schedule an appointment.