During the divorce process and following a divorce, it is not uncommon for an individual to face false accusations of misconduct from his former spouse. These could be accusations about his involvement in their children’s lives, a history of domestic violence, his substance addiction or his involvement in criminal activity. These kinds of accusations are frequently made in an attempt to discredit the individual they are made against and to persuade the court to rule in the accuser’s favor.
A former partner’s false accusations can have serious consequences for the accused party. These consequences include reduced parenting time with his children, an altered divorce settlement and even potential criminal charges. When facing false accusations, it is critical that the accused individual remain rational, refuse to engage with the accuser and comply with all court orders.
Dispute the Accusations
In most cases involving false accusations, the most effective way to deal with them is to respond to them directly. Although an individual facing a baseless accusation might be advised to ignore it, serious accusations generally need to be addressed directly.
In some cases, a false accusation is a misrepresentation of the truth. For example, an individual who works long hours and thus cannot be present for all of her children’s doctor appointments and teacher conferences might face an accusation that she is not adequately involved in her children’s lives. A false accusation could also be based on outdated or inaccurate information, like claiming that a parent who has a medical marijuana prescription is a drug addict.
Read More: How to Disprove and Defeat False Accusations
Prove the Accusations Wrong
An accusation – and in turn, a rebuttal – is only as strong as the evidence provided to support it. When disputing a false accusation, the most effective way to illustrate the truth is to provide evidence that shows the truth clearly. This evidence should accurately fit the accusation, such as:
- Testimonies from a child’s teacher or pediatrician discussing the extent to which his parent is involved in his life.
- Negative drug test results.
- Documentation showing that the criminal charge related to the accusation was dropped.
- Testimony from a child psychologist discussing whether a child actually shows signs of abuse.
When a false accusation is a misrepresentation of the truth, the evidence the accused provides to dispute it must acknowledge the truth and demonstrate how the accusation is a misrepresentation of it. For example, an individual who previously struggled with drug addiction, but does not currently, can provide documents showing that he has received substance abuse treatment and now lives a sober lifestyle.
Trust an Attorney’s Advice
Every incident of false accusations is unique. If the individual facing false accusations is working with a family lawyer, it is generally in her best interest to have the lawyer advise her on how to respond to the accusations. Depending on the accusation, the lawyer might advise her to ignore it because of a lack of evidence to support the accuser’s position or he might advise her to react with ample evidence to discredit the accusation.
Whether the accused individual has an attorney or not, she should always comply with court orders to avoid facing a contempt of court charge. Even if she feels the court orders are inappropriate, refusing to comply with them outside extreme circumstances, like refusing to drop her child at her ex’s house because she fears for her child’s safety, will only work against her case. This includes interactions with government agencies like Child Protective Services. Even if the accusation is completely false, refusing to comply with any type of investigation will only lessen the accused party’s credibility with the court.
- If you have actually committed the acts that you have been accused of, you should admit to wrongdoing, change your behavior and ask for forgiveness.
Lindsay Kramer is a freelance writer and editor who has been working in the legal niche since 2012. Her primary focus areas within this niche are family law and personal injury law. Lindsay works closely with a few legal marketing agencies, providing blog posts, website content and marketing materials to law firms across the United States.