Divorce can be fraught with tension and emotion, which can spiral out of control if one spouse becomes focused on harming the other or becomes overreactive. Perhaps there is no greater example of this dynamic than a false allegation of child abuse during divorce proceedings. If you become the victim of this type of fictitious claim, it is important that you follow certain steps to address these allegations immediately and vigorously protect yourself against a variety of negative outcomes – including loss of timesharing or visitation rights, loss of employment, ruined reputation and even incarceration.
- Hire an attorney experienced in the area of False Child Abuse Allegation Defense. This is a very serious matter. It is imperative that you are represented by a lawyer who has a history of handling similar cases and can safeguard your interests. You would not go to a general medical practitioner if you were suffering from cancer. The same holds true with these serious allegations.
- Educate yourself on the subject of false allegations of child abuse. This will provide you with a greater understanding of the situation and allow you to work as a partner with your attorney. You can find information online or as recommended by your attorney.
- Start working on a witness list. Make a list of friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members (along with their addresses and phone numbers) who can provide relevant information to aid your defense or undermine the allegation.
- Maintain your composure with the authorities involved in your case. While the situation may have you understandably angry, losing control could be used as evidence to support allegations.
- Start building a defense fund. While you know you are innocent, it may take some time to prove this in court. This type of case can potentially become very expensive with items such as specialized experts and extensive discovery.
- Make a written timeline to help your defense team. Start from Day 1 and go through today in as much detail as you can recall.
- Remain silent. If contacted by the police, state social service agency, or if you have been arrested, do not answer any questions other than your name, address and date of birth. Immediately ask for your lawyer. Under the provisions of the Miranda decision, police cannot continue to question you when you have asked for a lawyer to be present. If you are not arrested, you have the right to leave an interview. Invoke that right.
- Stay organized. Any information that you prepare for your attorney (such as suggested in paragraphs 3 and 6) should be labeled at the top of each page: “Attorney Work Product/Attorney Client Privilege”. Doing so will provide these documents with the protection of confidentiality.
The above steps do not contain everything that a person should do when false accusations of child abuse are made during a divorce case. An attorney experienced in handling false allegations of child abuse cases can provide many more. At The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A., Board Certified Marital and Family Law attorney Charles Jamieson, provides a comprehensive game plan to fight against and overcome false allegations of child abuse. Our services are valuable and we charge a fair price for them. If you think that we can assist you, please contact us. Our office will schedule an office or telephone consultation.