False Domestic Violence Allegations: How You Can Avoid Wrongful Allegations
Divorce proceedings can be messy and painful. Husbands and wives who have spent years building their lives together can sometimes become bitter enemies as they fight over who gets the house, the cars, other property, the dog, and the kids. In the heat of the battle one spouse can be tempted to level false domestic violence allegations against their former spouse in order to gain the upper hand.
If a spouse is accused of domestic violence he or she can automatically be forced to move out of the house and stay away from the children until the matter is resolved. In a fiercely contested divorce, this creates significant leverage for the spouse making the accusation.
If the allegations are false, there are steps you can take to not only overcome them, but use them to your advantage and even prevent them from seeing the light of day.
Understanding Domestic Violence
In order to properly defend against false domestic violence allegations, it is important to understand exactly what constitutes domestic violence. When most people hear the term domestic violence, they usually think of physical or sexual violence of some kind. While these two types of violence certainly qualify as domestic violence, there are other forms of domestic violence that should be mentioned, most notably psychological and economic abuse.
These other kinds of abuse can include:
- Verbal abuse
- Yelling or shouting at your partner
- Forbidding your partner from having or seeing friends
- Forbidding your partner from seeking employment
This list is in no way exhaustive and it is important to avoid behavior that your spouse could later claim as domestic violence. However, given that not all domestic violence is physical, you could also keep a record of times your spouse committed psychological or economic domestic violence against you. Even if you don’t think such allegations will hold up in court, they could prevent your spouse from filing false allegations against you.
Keep Detailed Records
In addition to keeping detailed records of times your spouse committed domestic violence against you, you should also keep records of how you acted faithfully in your marriage. Such records can go a long way to proving that you were honest and genuine in your relationship and would never conceive of acting violently towards your spouse.
Gather Witness Testimony
Enlisting the help of family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and others who can testify against the allegations is an important next step. If your spouse has falsely accused you of domestic violence but witness after witness tells a different story, it will be hard for your spouse’s legal team to convince a jury the allegations are true.
Any witness that can speak to your character as a faithful spouse and loving parent will help to thwart false domestic violence allegations.
Threaten Legal Retaliation
Bringing false domestic violence allegations against a spouse in a divorce is actually a risky strategy. And if a jury thinks the party that brought the allegations did so out of spite it can definitely backfire. Still, simply being accused, even falsely, can cause serious emotional distress and reputational damage.
Both of those points are more than enough reason to take legal action against a false accuser. An individual could potentially lose employment or have difficulty finding housing by being accused of domestic violence. However, if you know the allegations are baseless and threaten a countersuit, it might prevent your spouse from bringing the allegations in the first place.