When you have kids, your hope is to have a loving, stable family unit in which they can grow. Sadly, that may not always be the case. Child custody disputes are often among the most contentious disputes there are during a divorce, and things can escalate quickly.
When one or both parents feel threatened by the potential of losing their relationship with their children, it can turn into a situation where “all bets are off.” Making false allegations during a child custody dispute is not uncommon. This creates a toxic environment for everyone involved, but especially your kids who will feel trapped in the middle of a war they cannot win.
What are some common false allegations made in child custody battles?
- Physical abuse. False accusations of physical or sexual abuse can cause extraordinary damage. This damage is compounded when the alleged victims of the abuse are the children.
- Drug or alcohol abuse. Claiming a parent has a problem with drugs or alcohol can reinforce statements that it is not safe to leave a child with that parent for any length of time.
- Exposing the children to a paramour. One of the biggest complaints, especially when adultery has been alleged, is that the cheating spouse has allowed a significant other to be around the children.
What are the repercussions of false accusations?
The fallout of false accusations can and will affect everyone including the children, their parents, and even other family members or caregivers. Sometimes the false accusations affect the parent’s jobs and personal relationships.
Your children may:
- Be subjected to invasive and unnecessary examinations
- Suffer long-term psychological, mental, and/or emotional harm
- Be alienated by the lying parent’s actions
- Be forced into supervised visitation with a parent they love
- Carry the effects into their non-family lives (poor grades, fighting with friends, etc.)
- Be removed from the home entirely
The accused may:
- Be subjected to drug or alcohol testing for a period of time
- Suffer damage to his or her reputation
- Lose employment opportunities
The false accuser may:
- Lose visitation time and parenting privileges with the children
- Face criminal charges if any accusations were made to law enforcement
- Face contempt of court
The Department of Social Services may become involved in your custody case
Child Protection Services (CPS) under the North Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) can become involved when certain allegations are made involving children. If your child is taken to the hospital for an exam related to alleged abuse, they will be required to report it to DSS. This is can be a frightening experience as social workers have the authority to remove a child from your custody and place your son or daughter into emergency foster care until the court is satisfied that neither parent poses a danger.
If you genuinely believe that your child is being abused by his or her other parent, then absolutely seek the advice of a family law attorney, which may include filing a complaint with DSS. In North Carolina, there is a duty to report child abuse to DSS. There may be other more immediate ways of dealing with the threat to your children that our attorneys can explain to you.
Never use false allegations as leverage regarding child support
A parent who feels he or she has taken on the sole responsibility of raising a child may be angry that the other parent walks in, has fun with the child for a few hours, and walks back out without so much as paying for an after-school activity. Resentment can build, but you need to allow the system to work to determine the proper amount of child support you may be entitled to receive. Lying, or even threatening to lie, about something that happened in order to secure more financial support can lead to contempt. It may also give the coparent standing to modify the custody order.
If one parent has falsely accused you of something that can interfere with your rights as a parent, you need to combat the allegations by seeking the advice of an experienced family law attorney. Hartsoe & Associates, P.C. is here to help. If you need of legal guidance on a child custody matter, we invite you to call us at 336-725-1985, or reach out to us through our contact page to tell us your story. We maintain offices in both Winston-Salem and Greensboro.
For Tony, the law is a calling, not a job. He is a mountain boy, with simple, straightforward values. Tony loves what he does, and loves to help people through some of the toughest moments anyone will ever face. Learn More