Domestic violence cases are tragic. Domestic violence laws are in place to protect victims from abuse. Unfortunately, domestic violence laws can be abused in many different ways. Why do false accusations of domestic violence happen so often, and why do the people who make false accusations get away with it? There is no easy way to answer these questions, and perhaps these questions may never be answered.
The best way to handle a situation that involves false accusations of domestic violence is not to get into the situation in the first place. If you believe that your spouse will make false accusations of domestic violence, prevention of an ugly situation is the best solution. If false accusations of domestic violence have already surfaced, do not ignore them, and take action early.
One of the major reasons the system is abused so often is because the definition of domestic violence is so broad. A raised voice or any gesture may be used to claim that domestic violence took place. Most of the time, men face problems because they are perceived to be stronger and more aggressive, but a man cannot be in the house with his hands behind his back all the time.
Accusations of domestic violence, especially false accusations of domestic violence, can have devastating consequences on your life and your relationship with your children. I have seen people’s lives destroyed because they did not handle a domestic violence problem correctly at the very beginning. One client was falsely accused of domestic violence and arrested. He was put in jail, put his job in jeopardy because of many missed days, and, needless to say, spent a lot of money on a criminal lawyer. Another client was falsely accused of domestic violence and a restraining order was issued against him for three years. He was ordered to move out of the home, and he was prohibited from seeing his children. The client fought for supervised visitation, which he got. His wife was successful in preventing court-ordered visitation by claiming that the children were afraid of him. Even though the client was eventually able to see his children as part of reconnective therapy, these visits cannot compare to the client being able to see his children and have a healthy relationship with them like he used to. The most important people, the children, were gone from the client’s life.
The consequences of domestic violence accusations may be very severe, and not only in terms of the emotional impact. There may be both civil and criminal consequences. In the civil context, allegations of domestic violence may result in a domestic violence restraining order. As part of the domestic violence restraining order, you can be ordered to move out of your home, even if you own the home together with the alleged victim. You will be allowed to come back to get your personal property. However, if the alleged victim is vindictive, they may deny you access to the home or even destroy your belongings. You can also be prohibited from seeing your children. In California, there is a statutory presumption that if domestic violence has occurred, the perpetrator should not be awarded physical custody of the children.
When a restraining ordered is issued, you are prohibited from contacting the alleged victim directly or indirectly. This means that you cannot call them, send them letters or emails, or try to send messages to them through someone else. Often, alleged victims initiate contact by trying to call the accused or send them a message in order to get them in trouble. Any contact with the victim on your part, whether or not initiated by the victim, is a criminal violation that may result in a jail sentence. Violation of a restraining order, which is a criminal offense, can have very detrimental consequences. The court may also require a perpetrator of domestic violence to take classes such as anger management, a batterers’ program, or parenting without violence. The batterers’ program takes 52 weeks. These programs may be a condition that you need to fulfill in order to restore contact with your children.
If you are victim of domestic violence, it is important that you protect yourself. Contacting a lawyer who has experience in handling domestic violence cases is the first step. However, if you are a victim of false accusations of domestic violence, you still need to protect yourself. The sooner you contact a lawyer who has experience handling cases involving false accusations of domestic violence, the better. When false allegations of domestic violence are made, there is a lot at stake. Domestic violence hearings are held with very little time for a defendant to prepare. The accuser has time to plan the case ahead while you, as the defendant, find out about the hearing only a few weeks before it takes place. Typically, an application for a domestic violence restraining order starts by seeking an ex-parte emergency order, followed by a more permanent restraining order issued after the court hearing. Very often, a judge will issue a restraining order only on verbal evidence to err on the side of caution. What would you do if you were the judge? Wouldn’t you give benefit of the doubt to someone who could have been an abuse victim, whether or not this is really the case? What if that person is really abused and you, as the judge, did nothing about it? After all, a judge would not want to be accused of failure to protect an abused person. An issuance of a restraining order gives the false accuser grounds for even more future false allegations that the order is being violated.
Obtaining a domestic violence restraining order requires preparing the evidence and presenting it to the court so you will be protected. Contesting false allegations of domestic violence requires an aggressive defense. This is why you should hire a lawyer who has experience with both. Requesting a domestic violence restraining order via false allegations of domestic violence is a tactic that is widely used in order to limit the non-custodial parent’s time with their children and thus gain an advantage in child support and child custody disputes.