When one spouse or family member is subjected to abuse or violence by a partner, spouse, parent, or another family member, the consequences are serious, and the emotional and psychological damage can be long-lasting. While incidents of domestic violence or child abuse most definitely warrant serious investigation and swift action from police or courts, there is sometimes a different but still very serious issue occurring – false allegations.
Many people who commit acts of violence or abuse claim the allegations are false, of course, and most incidents happen in private without witnesses, making it difficult to say for sure how often false accusations actually occur. But many who work in the field of family law are all too familiar with false allegations, and most people have encountered someone with a similar story, especially when matters of divorce or child custody are involved. One study found that 33% of accusations of sexual abuse in divorce or custody proceedings were found to be false, while no determination could be made in about 17% of those cases.
Not all false allegations involve criminal activity. And contrary to some beliefs, false allegations are made by both men and women. In a highly contentious divorce, one spouse may falsely accuse the other of cheating, excessive drinking or gambling, or emotional abuse, for example, in an attempt to win a more favorable divorce settlement for themselves. While these activities would not usually warrant criminal charges, they can play heavily into a court’s determination of custody issues and even property division, if the accusations are convincing enough.
In situations where false allegations are made by a soon-to-be ex-spouse, it’s likely that the relationship was already a contentious one, and the accusation will no doubt add to the strained emotions you’re already feeling. If you find yourself in this scenario, it is highly advised that you seek legal representation from a knowledgeable family law attorney who can look at the evidence and allegations from a fresh perspective and help you build a strategy for showing why the claims lack merit.
Your attorney can help you gather evidence such as messages and emails, receipts, pictures, or witness statements to help support your version of events and show a clearer picture of what actually occurred. It’s important to resist the urge to retaliate or lash out, as these behaviors can actually harm your case in the future.
At the Van Den Heuvel Law Office, we have a team of highly knowledgeable and experienced attorneys handling both family law matters, such as divorce and child custody, as well as criminal defense attorneys familiar with charges like domestic violence and assault. This diverse legal background allows us to bring a unique analysis to allegations made during the divorce process. We can help you understand the full impact of the accusations against you, and what evidence may be helpful in defending against those charges.
If you have been subjected to false allegations as part of a divorce or child custody proceeding in Michigan, our team may be able to help. Contact our office today to request a consultation. For your convenience, we are available over the phone or through videoconferencing as well.
To talk with our attorney about your legal concerns, contact the Van Den Heuvel Law Office by calling 616-698-0000. You may also complete our online contact form. After-hours consultations are available by appointment. We are also available on Skype by appointment.