Unfortunately, it is not unheard of for false reports of domestic abuse to be made by one spouse hoping to gain an advantage in child custody disputes or as leverage in divorce proceedings. When a temporary restraining order is issued based on false allegations of domestic abuse, the accused becomes the victim and often has to go to court to clear his or her name.
To avoid being falsely accused of domestic abuse or to help disprove false allegations, here are some tips you can follow:
Avoid your accuser. Try to avoid being in the presence of your accuser as much as possible to prevent arguments from breaking out that could cause you to say something that could be used by the accuser against you. This may be difficult if you still live in the same home or share custody of your children; if that is the case, then you need to be extremely vigilant about your interactions. If possible, have someone else with you when you know you will have to interact with your ex who can be a witness to any conflicts.
Record your interactions. Use a body camera or your cell phone to record all your interactions with the actual or potential accuser. You should only do this as a preventive measure to protect yourself; recording someone without his or her knowledge under some circumstances could be considered harassment or stalking under the law. If you can’t video record, use audio recording — it is not as valuable as video evidence, but is better than nothing at all to help substantiate your claims.
Communicate in writing. If possible, communicate only using email or text messaging. If you communicate via phone, your accuser could claim you made harassing statements or threats. Unless you recorded the call, a judge will have to decide whom to believe.
Avoid inflammatory statements. Don’t make any statements in front of your accuser or another person that could be misconstrued as threatening. Even things said in jest can be misinterpreted by others and you could find yourself having to defend those comments in court.
Tackle factual inaccuracies. It is important for you to be able to provide evidence to refute an ex’s claim of domestic abuse. For example, if they allege you made a threatening phone call and you know you didn’t, keep your phone records to refute their claim that you made the call. Point out any inconsistencies in their story. If you have an email or text where your ex has threatened you with a custody battle or false abuse claims, by all means hand it over to your attorney! This may be evidence that the accuser has a motive to lie.
We know that family law issues are often difficult, life-changing events. We also know how much it helps to have knowledgeable legal advocates on your side to help you obtain the best possible outcome. Contact us today for your free consultation.