Stakes are high in a divorce or heated child custody battle. One parent may make untrue claims about the other, thinking it will give them an advantage. 

In spousal support or child support disputes, selfishness can tempt a spouse to make false accusations. When you are falsely accused of financial dishonesty, it can be infuriating. 

Facing false accusations can also be overwhelming, emotionally taxing, and scary. But it can be critical to take control of your emotions before you react to false accusations against you in court. 

If you’re up against false accusations in court, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Don’t Be Defensive (It’s Not About You)

Keep in mind that the false accusations lodged against you represent the other party’s insecurity. What will help your case is a clear-eyed takedown of the falsities. For this reason, you must keep your cool. 

Anger, rage, contempt, and other unpleasant emotions take hold quickly when you’ve been wrongly accused. Yet these emotions are not helpful to the outcome of your case. 

You can help your attorney respond to false accusations if you can evaluate the false allegations with an objective mind. Your attorney can help you develop a strategy for responding to false accusations

Respond Assertively to False Accusations

In the eyes of many judges and attorneys, failure to respond to an accusation is akin to admitting them. With the guidance and help of your attorney, you can prepare an assertive response. 

However, you’ll need an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney to navigate false accusations of domestic violence. Studies of outcomes of court cases have shown that courts credit domestic abuse allegations at different rates.

Factors include:

  • Whether the mother or father claims the abuse
  • Whether the accused parent asserts parental alienation
  • Whether a guardian ad litem or custody evaluator is involved in the case

Many courts are skeptical of domestic abuse allegations. In general, outcomes vary based mostly on whether the court finds the parental alienation claims to be credible. 

Allegations are Unproven and the Law Requires Proof

Under New Jersey law, proven domestic abuse allegations can impact child custody. A skilled child custody attorney can help you protect your children from a truly abusive spouse. When a parent makes false accusations of domestic abuse, though, it can hurt their chances. 

The court may judge a parent who makes false accusations to have mental health issues. Even if that does not happen, the court may find that they lack the necessary stability to parent their child properly.

When you’re up against false accusations in court, it can help to remember that the person who makes allegations has the burden of proof to demonstrate the truth of them. By working calmly with your attorney, you can help the court see that the allegations are false.

You Will Have the Opportunity to Defend Yourself

Separate and apart from responding to the allegations and challenging the evidence at trial, you also get the chance to defend yourself. Defenses will depend on the facts of the accusations. 

It is important to have a reputable and experienced attorney to aid you in defending yourself against false accusations. Whether you’ve been accused of substance abuse problems, domestic violence, or some other unpleasant act, an attorney can tell you what evidence you will need to show it is untrue. 

If you are able to show that the allegations are untrue, the court may punish the accuser. 

Always be Collecting Evidence

While it sounds paranoid to say, there’s also no good reason not to hold on to evidence of interactions with your former spouse or your child’s other parent. 

In the technological age, we have the tools at our fingertips to record and store written and oral communications. (New Jersey is a “one-party consent” state, in which in-person or telephone communications can be recorded with the consent of one party.)

Your smartphone is always by your side, ready to take photos and send them immediately to the cloud. Particularly, screenshots of social media content can be critical, since the content can be deleted. 

You may never need the text messages, recordings, or photographs you collect during your interactions with your former spouse or your child’s other parent. But if you’re able to show that the accusations you’re facing are false with them, you’ll never regret keeping them.