Responding to Allegations of Abuse
There are few accusations more damaging or difficult to defend than allegations of physical or sexual abuse in a family law case. Sadly, such allegations are common in contested divorce and child custody cases. Even though the allegations are fabricated, they can do real damage to your case and your reputation.
At Kraayeveld Law, our attorneys have more than 20 years of experience dealing with issues such as parental alienation and false allegations of sexual abuse or physical abuse.
Why Do Parents Falsely Allege Abuse?
False allegations of physical or sexual abuse happen more than one would expect in divorce and custody cases. A parent can make such allegations for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the allegation starts quite innocently. The child is young, unable to clearly express what happened, and the parent jumps to conclusions. More often, a parent makes the allegation to gain the upper hand in the child custody or parenting time dispute, to gain exclusive use of the home, or simply out of spite and vengeance. In some cases, repeated false allegations of sexual abuse are made because some contributing mental illness clouds the parent’s judgment.
If you have been the victim of a fabricated sexual or physical abuse allegation, you probably experienced the court’s hesitation to allow for continued parenting time while the abuse allegation is being investigated. Even without evidence, the judge may err on the side of caution and order the accused parent out of the marital home, suspend visitation, order supervised visitation or deprive the accused of his or her rights in other ways.
Because all parenting time is often stopped while the CPS investigation is ongoing, it is clear why some unscrupulous parents make knowingly false abuse allegations.
If an unscrupulous parent makes repeated false sexual or physical abuse allegations, there is little hope that the situation will stop without court intervention.
Although it is extremely frustrating when a false allegation is made, it is understandable why a judge would err on the side of caution. In a Canadian study in early 2000, researchers reviewed 7,672 cases of abuse. Thirty five percent of the cases were unsubstantiated (meaning there was no evidence of abuse). Only 4% (108 cases) of the cases with physical abuse and 6% (161 cases) of sexual abuse were the product of intentionally fabricated false physical abuse allegations. This means that statistically the vast majority of reported abuse allegations are substantiated.
At Kraayeveld Law, we understand how harmful false physical or sexual abuse allegations are to the child and parent. Thorough preparation of the case, experience, and understanding of the court system and judge assigned to the case are key elements to successfully reinstate parenting time.
In the late 1980s, our firm first successfully defended a parent who was falsely accused of sexual abuse of a child, which led to a change of custody in favor of the accused parent. Since then, we have tenaciously continued our representation of spouses and parents who are falsely accused of physical or sexual abuse, and we are ready as a team to tackle your case.