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4 Things to Remember When Facing False Accusations
Divorces are not easy for anyone involved. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, one parent may make a false accusation against the other. This can be as retribution or trying to get even with the other spouse, especially if there are hurt feelings involved. It may also be to make it harder for one parent to get custody or have to pay more child support.
False accusations can destroy reputations in your community. Even if they are not true, those thoughts are now in everyone’s mind. If you find yourself on the wrong end of a false accusation, there are several things you need to remember:
1) Accusations Require Proof
If someone accuses you falsely, they will need proof to back it up. A judge is not likely to just take their word on something that could result in a changing a court order or a criminal conviction. It is even possible that you could be arrested if the accusation is serious enough. Remember though, they cannot keep you in prison simply because someone has accused you of something. There must be actual evidence.
Domestic violence is one false accusation that gets a lot of headlines. In Florida, this means any form of assault, battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any injury that results in the death of one household member by another. Each of these crimes has different definitions under state law and actual evidence must be shown to prove guilt. The person accusing you will have the burden of showing evidence and proving you committed the crime.
2) Follow Court Orders
You must follow all court orders. This is particularly important if you have received an order regarding child custody or child support. For example, a former spouse may have accuse you falsely of child endangerment or harm. If this is the case, you may temporarily lose custody or visitation rights. It is important to follow these orders, even if you don’t agree with them. You can file an appeal or ask the court to alter the order but do not break the current one while it is in place.
It will only strengthen the case of the other person if you break the order. For example, do not go if your court order says you can only visit your children on Tuesday but your former partner calls and asks you to come to visit Monday night. They may be honestly wanting you to see your children. However, they could also be trying to get you to break the court order. Either way, it is best to only follow the rules specifically given to you by the court.
3) You get the Chance to Defend Yourself
Either a judge or some other official will allow you to defend yourself if a false accusation has been made against you. This is where your lawyer can help you the most. They will be able to tell you what relevant evidence you need and how it should be presented. It is also important because false accusations are taken seriously. If you can prove that your former spouse made one against you, they could face their own additional court problems.
One example of this is an accusation that affects child custody like abuse or endangerment. More than likely the Florida Department of Children and Families will open a file and investigate if your former partner files a child abuse accusation against you. If this happens, you will get to see the report filed against you and you will be able to tell your side of the story.
4) Keep Evidence
Keep meticulous records of everything. This will help you show that any accusations against you are false. The best way to start this is to keep a written journal. Write down every interaction you have with your former spouse. Make sure to include the date, time, location, and what was said. Even small things that do not seem serious can have a large effect when they add up.
You can also use social media accounts in court. People can delete things they post, so if you see something particularly helpful to your case; make sure to screenshot it and save it. It is also best to keep your social media accounts clean and to not post anything regarding your former spouse or your children. You do not want to give more evidence to them.
Finally, know that you can also use witnesses to contradict false accusations. For example, a friend may be able to refute a claim of domestic violence if you were at their house when the alleged abuse took place. It is also important to not talk to your case to too many friends. They too could be called as witnesses but for the other side.