When a couple decides to get a divorce, they will normally have to reach several compromises during the divorce process. In some divorces involving children, this routine process will often turn into a heated emotional battle. In the California family court system, judges will always follow the rules of what is in the best interest of the children in any divorce.
However, there are some divorcing parents that will use their own children as props during California divorce proceedings.
Some parents become so emotional over child custody issues they will start making false allegations against the other parent for:
- child abuse,
- child neglect,
- emotional abuse,
- sexual abuse,
- domestic violence,
- criminal offenses,
- drug or alcohol abuse.
There are laws in California that discourage divorcing parents from making false accusations. If a family court finds out that a divorcing parent made false allegations in an attempt to gain an advantage in a divorce proceeding, they can face some harsh consequences.
So, what if you are involved in a California child custody case during divorce and you have been falsely accused of something that could impact child custody?
To give readers a better understanding of false accusations in a California child custody case, our Los Angeles divorce and family law attorneys are providing a review below.
How Can False Allegations in Child Custody Cases Affect Children?
Some parents who become bitter during a divorce proceeding become selfish and don't consider how a custody dispute can impact their children.
When a relationship ends, there is obviously some differences of opinions between the couple. These differences often involve parenting and custody, which often becomes a hotly debated issue.
The child custody issue can get so heated, parents often lose sight of the needs of their children and how the arguments are affecting them.
Unfortunately, some parents will use their kids as a tool to get back at the other parent for a perceived injustice. Some parents don't want to share child custody out of spite or anger and forget to consider the impact of the child.
False allegations in child custody cases can have a serious long-term effect on children, including:
- emotional or mental stability,
- relationship with parents,
- physical well-being,
- understanding right from wrong.
Even after the allegations were proven false, much time has passed and emotional harm has already changed the child's life.
There could be an argument made that these type of tactics are itself child abuse. There have been cases where parents lost custody of their children due to making serious false allegations against the other parent.
California family courts will typically favor shared parenting and child custody, unless there is some type of serious negative behavior.
How Can I Uncover False Allegations Against Me?
We have seen many California divorce and custody cases where one parent makes the decision to start making serious false allegations against the other parent in order to gain full child custody.
In most cases, these false allegations involve sexual offenses or some type of child abuse, but also drug or alcohol addiction.
In order to uncover false allegations, it could involve a long and expensive process that might require the assistance of experts. You may have to track down:
- medical records,
- child protective services records,
- witnesses, and
- police reports.
There has been divorce cases when a parent's false allegation was proven false, they suddenly remember other allegations.
This will often start the disproving process all over again, which causes even more emotional trauma on the children.
How Can Child Abuse Be Proven in a Family Court?
Clearly, there are some real cases of significant abuse by parents against children. In most cases, these parents should not be allowed to have unsupervised contact with their children.
However, there are also some parents who become so desperate to obtain full child custody, they will say just about anything against the other parent.
If one parent is making allegations of child abuse that can actually be proven in court, then there is a good chance the abusing parent will lose their child custody rights.
In order to investigate allegations of child abuse, the California family law courts will seek:
- documentation and records, such as;
- criminal convictions or physician's reports;
- showing physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
If some type of child abuse is proven, a family court judge could still order supervised child visitation before they will permanently terminate the parental rights of the parent abuser.
What are the Penalties for Making False Allegations in Child Custody Cases?
California family law courts consider false allegations in child custody cases a serious issue. In fact, a parent could face:
- losing their child custody rights;
- limited child custody;
- supervised child visitation;
- court sanctions and fees;
- reconsideration of child custody ruling;
- criminal charges.
If the family law court finds out a parent lied in order to get child custody, the court will generally believe the parent doesn't have the child's best interest in mind and is attempting to manipulate the court.
Thus, the judge might order limited child custody, or only supervised visitation time with their children.
However, the parent who was falsely accused will have to prove the other parent made the false allegations in an attempt to interfere with their lawful right to have contact with their children.
Also, the parent who was falsely accused has the option of filing a motion to have a current child custody order changed or reconsidered.
If the court finds that no abuse occurred as claimed, then the parent making the accusations might be ordered to pay some expenses of the falsely accused parent.
Contact a Family Law Lawyer in Los Angeles for Help with Child Custody
If your ex-spouse has accused you of any type of child abuse, you should seek help before the situation gets worse.
Most parents will do almost anything for their kids, which can include making false allegations against the other parent in an effort to get a favorable ruling on child custody.
Getting a divorce is very stressful and emotional, but every parent's top priority should be what is in the best interest of their child. If a parent attempts to damage the relationship a child has with the other parent, they could face harsh consequences.
If you were falsely accused of abuse in a California child custody case, then you should contact our law firm to review the details and options.
Furman & Zavatsky are Los Angeles family law and divorce lawyers representing clients throughout Southern California, including LA County, Ventura County, Calabasas, Burbank, Glendale, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, and the San Fernando Valley.
Our law firm is located at 15821 Ventura Blvd #690 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (818) 528-3471.