Divorce can be an ugly process, especially when allegations of abuse are brought up by one parent. Unfortunately, it is very easy to allege abuse and obtain an order of protection against the other parent during custody disputes. While some cases of abuse are very real and should be handled accordingly, the majority of spouse abuse claims during custody disputes are later deemed false or unnecessary.
Only a claim of abuse is necessary for the spouse making the abuse allegations to obtain a protection order. The alleging party doesn’t even need to relate specific instances of abuse to the judge. Even a “perceived threat” is enough to obtain a protection order. The defendant does not get the chance to explain his or her side before the order is issued.
Once a protection order is filed, it becomes increasingly difficult for the affected parent to obtain parental rights. He or she has little hope of obtaining full custodial rights of the children and will even find it challenging to obtain minimal visitation rights. Even if the charges are later dismissed, protection orders may still show up in background checks and affect future employment.
To fight a false allegation of abuse, it is important to protect yourself by gathering evidence that proves the accusations are untrue and seek legal help immediately. District attorneys and divorce attorneys are very aware of false abuse allegations by a spouse and can help alleviate the situation. You should also find witnesses who can vouch for your character and corroborate your side of the story.
While you gather evidence to prove the accusations are false, it is important to remain calm and obey the terms of the protection order. Exhibiting angry or violent behaviors will not help your case and will only corroborate the alleging parent’s claims. Keeping your emotions in check throughout the process (especially during your hearing) is essential and can have an impact on the outcome of your divorce.