How to Respond to False Allegations of Domestic Abuse

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I have a cousin who is going through a divorce. His wife claimed he abused her and was granted a restraining order against him. She knows that doing this will give her a presumption of custody of their children and exclusive use of the marital home. At the very least, until he can defend himself in court and prove her allegations false.

Here is his issue, he either can’t or refuses to stop engaging in conflict with his wife.

I gave him three pieces of advice:

  1. Hire an attorney. You need an advocate for you in a system that will be working against you from the beginning. You can't defend yourself in a system you know nothing about. 
  2. Stay away from her until the evidentiary hearing, one in which he will be able to defend himself against her allegations.
  3. Do NOT engage in conflict with her!

He is failing miserably at all three.

Because of her, he has lost time with his children, had to move from the marital home and is dealing with overwhelming emotions. I can understand the difficulty involved in accepting less contact with his children and removing himself from his family home. Both are devastating things to live with if they are forced upon you. I get that!

I can’t understand his inability to comprehend the potential loss to him due to her allegations and his inability to stop react to her in a negative manner. It’s as if he can’t separate his anger toward his wife from his relationship with his children and his money.

He is letting his emotions drive every decision he makes and in doing so putting his relationship with his children and his financial future in jeopardy. I fear he will walk away from his divorce with very limited time with his children and losing most of what he has worked for during his 14 years of marriage.

He is doing what most people in his situation do. He is giving her what she wants. He is giving her ammunition to use in court against him. He is displaying behavior the court will frown upon and making her and her accusations appear more credible. He is caught up in defending himself instead of focusing on proving her a liar. 

For example: After getting the restraining order, she went to his parents and told them that their son had hit her and that she had no choice but to protect herself and the children from him because "he is dangerous." Needless to say, this upset his parents terribly.

How did he respond? He fired off an email to her, calling her a f#cking b#ich and telling her he would make her regret what she was doing, that he would make sure her life was miserable. He gave her evidence to print out and use against him to further her claims of abuse in court. He dug his hole a little deeper!

What to Do If You Are Wrongly Accused of Domestic Abuse

Knowing that someone has accused you of something you didn’t do is infuriating. It is normal to want to defend yourself and lash out at your accuser. In a divorce situation, you can’t do what feels “normal.” Protecting yourself legally and following through with appropriate family court counsel and a level head is critical.

  • If you don’t have an attorney, hire an attorney. One who can respond to the courts and defend you against such accusations. An attorney can file petitions with the court that will go further in protecting your legal rights than, you defending yourself in a negative manner. 
  • Once false allegations of abuse are filed against you, refuse to be alone with the person making the accusations. Please take this seriously! If someone has accused you of abuse, the last thing you want to give that person is another opportunity to make more accusations. If you have to be around that person ALWAYS have a third party/witness with you.
  • Do not engage in conflict with your accuser. Keep any communication you have with the person civil. Be constrained and aware of everything you say in emails, texts, and on your Facebook Twitter and other social media accounts. Remember, everything you say can be “held against” you. When possible, if you have children keep all communication to child related issues.