False allegations of abuse can be a form of alienation, and can occur during any divorce and child custody proceeding. Identifying warning signs, and knowing how the courts and laws protect against false abuse allegations, are ways to protect yourself.
False Abuse Claims
If a parent makes a false allegation against another parent to get the upper hand in court, they can badly undermine the parent-child relationship and use the court as a weapon to make the damage last longer.
How often do false claims happen? Accurate statistics are not known, but some have given estimates ranging from 2% to 35%. The wide range in the statistics can depend on several factors, including whether the child is reporting or a parent, and the audience.
Whatever the percentage of false claims, attorneys, judges, and mental health experts all know firsthand that it is a big problem in family court. Nothing can disrupt, sidetrack, or impede a case more than an allegation of abuse that eventually proves to be false.
Detecting a false allegation is critical because judges can be influenced by the accusation, even if it is not substantiated by the evidence. Sadly, a child custody decision could result in favor of the falsely accusing parent. Uncovering and exposing a false allegation is vital in making sure the offending parent is not rewarded for destructive behavior.
False allegations of abuse are often made during contentious child custody cases. One parent believes that he or she will gain leverage in the case by lodging an allegation of abuse against the other parent. More often than not, the allegation of abuse is a tactic used to alienate the child from the targeted parent. In other words, it is part of parental alienation. A number of steps can be taken by the targeted parent to beat the false allegation of abuse.
Florida False Abuse Claims
I have written on fraud in divorce and child custody cases before. False allegations of abuse can become the nuclear bomb of divorce and child custody cases, as Florida requires mandatory reporting of child abuse by judges and others.
There are protections and penalties for creating false abuse claims. For example, anyone who knowingly and willfully makes a false report, or counsels another to make a false report can be guilty of a felony.
In addition to criminal penalties, a false allegation can harm your child custody case too. When a court creates, or modifies a parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule, the court must make the best interest of the child the primary consideration.
Determining the best interests of the child requires a judge to evaluate all of the factors affecting the welfare and interests of a child, including, but not limited to evidence that a parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.
As in all matters, protecting yourself requires some work. Try to collect as much documentation as possible to disprove the allegation. Typically these include emails, texts, photos and more.
Research hiring mental health experts who can address false allegations, parental alienation, and the particular facts in a case. Forensic experts are an invaluable resource to help you in court.
False allegations of abuse are considered parental alienation. The intent of the alienating parent is to disrupt a child’s relationship with the targeted parent. Alienation is at the heart of false claims.
The Psychiatric Times article is here.