If you are one of many Indiana residents who are currently navigating a divorce or child custody proceedings, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed and stressed. This is especially true if you and your ex do not get along well. If someone has falsely accused you of domestic violence, you are not alone in your struggle. Many spouses have had to fight for justice in this area, particularly those who were at risk for denial of custody or visitation.
What should you do if someone you once were married to falsely accuses you of domestic violence? While it may be difficult, the first and most important step to take is to try to remain calm. You have rights, and no one, especially those who have legal authority, may violate those rights. The key to fighting false allegations is to know where to seek support.
Always show up for court proceedings
It is understandable that you might feel frustrated, angry or afraid if your ex has accused you of domestic violence or has told the court that you are an unfit parent. You might be tempted to disregard the allegations. However, it is a big mistake to ignore a court summons. You would no doubt wind up making matters even worse.
Instead, it is best to arrive in court on time and to cooperate in a calm, respectful manner to answer questions or to give your side of the story. Avoid angry or emotional outbursts, which one may interpret as threatening behavior. In short, losing your temper in front of a family court judge tasked with determining your fitness as a parent will likely hurt your case.
You will have an opportunity to call witnesses on your own behalf
Perhaps it’s not the first time that your ex has falsely accused you of domestic violence. If you were married for five or more years, you might have family members, work colleagues or trusted friends who are aware of these issues. The more people who are willing to be character witnesses on your behalf in court, the better.
Don’t hold back if you have evidence to expose the lies
In addition to having people attest to your good character under oath, you might have evidence to prove that your ex is lying. It is critical to share this evidence with the court. For instance, there might be medical documentation to show that your ex is mentally unstable. Or, your ex might have accused you of violence when a witness was present at the time — a witness who is willing to state that the allegations are untrue.
Build a strong defense network if you are facing charges
Especially concerning child custody issues, your reputation and fitness as a parent are important attributes that may influence the court’s decisions. You might wish to seek sole custody of your kids or obtain visitation privileges. In any case, you have rights as a parent, and the right support system can help you protect those rights in court.