When you are surprised by an action of divorce and custody, which is often the case, much of the nastiest blind-sides come early in the process. False allegations of domestic violence, child abuse, or some combination thereof are the most frequently used tactic to gain a “strategic advantage” when there are children involved and a child custody case is unavoidable. When such false accusations are made, there usually follows a restraining order and someone is ordered to stay away from the marital home and the children until the matter is investigated.
Sometimes the motivation is revenge for harms you’ve allegedly perpetrated in the eye of the accuser. In other cases, the motivation is money, after all, in all but the fewest states, more child custody time means more child support money coming in. Some people are just plain mean and that’s all it takes for things to come undone quickly.
It’s important for you not to get “overly defensive.” That’s not to say you shouldn’t defend yourself. Hire a good attorney with experience involving false accusations in the midst of child custody battles. Defend yourself without getting caught up in defending yourself. Getting caught up will distract you from being the best person you can be – and normally are. You need to focus on your positives and let the attorneys prepare the defense. Be the best person you can be and, more importantly, continue to be the best parent you can be, making sure to operate within the constraints that a temporary order often imposes upon the falsely accused.
While all of these unnecessary but frequent proceedings are taking place, take a little time to learn about parallel parenting. With a high-conflict ex-spouse, the sooner you learn about how to operate your lives and your parenting independent of one another, the better you are able to avoid being placed in situations where false accusations can reoccur.
The problem in situations such as these is that if you don’t appropriately defend yourself (and sometimes even if you do), those temporary orders, born of a false accusation of misdeeds on your part – often turn into permanent orders. For instance – if you are permitted any visitation with your children at all, it will sometimes be supervised. If it’s not supervised, you may be able to take them every other weekend. The reason? Judges don’t want to be the person who makes the mistake and ignores the plight of someone in real trouble at the hands of a violent spouse, be they male or female. Then, depending upon how long it takes to sort through all of the details, the family court cites “status quo” in allowing the order to continue as the full fledged custody order, where one parent is left with every-other-weekend, while the accuser is rewarded for their awful actions with primary custody of the children.
Our final tip – when it’s clear that your marriage is going to end and you have children, know that there will be a child custody battle. Know that your likelihood of being false accused of something has gone up dramatically. That is when you need to start being acutely aware of your surroundings and situations and work hard to avoid being put in a position where you can be falsely accused with little or no defense available.