Divorce is challenging, messy, and often heartbreaking. Going through a custody battle for the right to parent your child makes the situation even tougher. If your former spouse or co-parent makes unfounded and untrue allegations against you in court, other complications arise. False allegations are frustrating, unfair, and life-altering when trying to gain custody of your child. False allegations from a former partner could include:
- Physical abuse
- Emotional abuse
- Poor living conditions
- Drug or alcohol addiction
Unfortunately, these allegations can be common in particularly contentious custody cases. They can be made online or on social media where they can be spread quickly. Whether you’re experiencing false allegations right now or want to prepare yourself for a custody case, we’ve provided important steps you can take to clear your name and still have a chance of taking custody of your child.
Talk to Your Lawyer Immediately
As soon as you learn of the allegations, you should speak to your family law attorney immediately. They can provide you with important information, inform you of your rights, and help you strategize a plan to clear your name quickly.
Make sure you are as truthful with your attorney as possible and discuss any possible motivation your co-parent may have for slandering your name. Your lawyer is there to help you and give you advice, so they are your best resource in this situation.
Prove Your Innocence Through Evidence
One of the most important steps when dealing with false allegations in custody court is gathering evidence to protect yourself. No piece of evidence that the claims are false is too big or too small.
Let’s say that your co-parent accuses you of not providing proper living conditions for your child. You can take photos of your home and your child’s living space in it to show that you do provide for your child. You could also get character witnesses to testify that you provide a safe, clean, and healthy environment for your child.
The more evidence you can provide to disprove your ex-spouse’s claims, the better. Gather this evidence as quickly as possible to help arm your attorney and be ready to defend yourself.
Analyze the Situation
Ask yourself why your ex is throwing out false accusations about you. More likely than not, they are afraid of losing custody of your child and are slandering your name out of desperation.
If you had a contentious or hostile relationship, this could be their way of getting back at you and making you pay for any wrongs they feel you’ve done to them. It could also be their way of preventing you from seeing your child short-term until the matter is resolved. They may even want to turn your child against you and make your child want to live with them instead.
Be sure to share these insights with your attorney so they can better prepare you to face the court.
Talk to Your Ex
Talking to your ex might not always be the way to go. If the situation is awful, you may want to avoid any contact with them leading up to the court case. However, if you believe your ex truly wants the best for your child, remind them of the immense mental toll that these false allegations will have on your child.
They could coerce your child into thinking you are a monster. They could be asked to lie, which will weigh heavy on their conscience. These false allegations of abuse, neglect or any other can have serious implications on your child’s mental health for years to come. Remind your co-parent that the custody case is in place to figure out what is best for your child and that these allegations will cause more harm than good for them in the long run.
Cooperate and Keep Your Cool
In situations like this, it can be easy to lose your temper, hurl accusations back at your ex, and lead with anger for the rest of the court case. Putting your personal feelings and emotions aside is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do, but it is also one of the most important.
Anger is the worst way to handle false accusations because it makes you look violent and unstable – it’s not a great look for a parent seeking custody of their child. Instead, cooperate with the court and handle the due process with grace. That will display your willingness to do what is best for you and your child as you work to prove your innocence.
If you follow these steps and work diligently with your lawyer to prove your innocence, the case should go your way. If you and your attorney can prove that your ex falsely slandered your name, that makes them look worse in court. It is against the law to make false accusations in court, so your ex could be hit with a fine and may lose the custody battle.
Remember that this custody battle, no matter the challenges and complications, is about figuring out the best, safest environment for your child. Focus on getting the target off of your back and coming to a solution that helps your child.