One of the challenges of a contentious and adversarial divorce is that one side may be willing to stoop surprisingly low in order to get the upper hand. Accusing the other party of abuse or neglect is an effective way to elicit a reaction and create a lot of chaos, but when the allegations are proven false, the fallout can be devastating from everyone. Making false allegations of abuse and neglect during a child custody dispute can cause irreparable damage to the reputation of the accused, and unnecessary trauma to the children involved if they have to be removed from their home.
What are the consequences of being accused of child abuse or neglect?
In Tennessee, every allegation of child abuse or neglect must be investigated. It can create quite a bit of disorder and confusion if a temporary restraining order is issued, and the accused is forced to leave his or her home. It might be weeks before the accused has the chance to appear before the judge to defend him or herself, and during that time the accused’s relationship with his or her children, other family members, neighbors and even employers maybe be irreparably damaged. The accused now faces:
- Restraining order
- Loss of access to the family home
- Loss of contact with the child
- Possible arrest
- Possible loss of employment
- Having future custody put in jeopardy
A spouse who wants to gain an unfair advantage in a custody dispute can effectively destroy the life and reputation of the other party with a single phone call.
Defending against false accusations of abuse and neglect
Learning that you have been accused of child abuse or neglect will (naturally) elicit a strong reaction, but in order to fight these allegations you cannot give the other side any opportunity to see you get angry or lose your composure. Your Nashville family law attorney knows exactly what to do to protect your rights and defend your reputation, but there are a few ways that you can help yourself in this process.
- Remain calm despite whatever your spouse is accusing you of having done.
- Contact friends and family members who will vouch for your character and your fitness as a parent.
- Obey every word of the court order and do everything the court directs you to do, even if it includes taking parenting classes or talking with a counselor.
- Have no contact with your accuser, and if he or she attempts to contact you keep a written record of the dates and times and what transpires.
Remember this: family court judges put the best interest of your children first. These accusations are incredibly serious, and you want to take careful steps to ensure they are dismissed, and that your future with your children is secure. Judges do not like to have their time wasted, and a false accusation will ultimately hurt the accuser.
At Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC, our team of Nashville family lawyers knows exactly what to do in order to defend against false allegations. If you are facing a contentious divorce beset with conflict and chaos, please call us at 615-391-4200, or contact the experienced Nashville legal team at Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC to discuss your case. Reserve a consultation time with us to ask your questions and review your specific needs and concerns about child custody, and we will explain your rights and your options.
Karla C. Miller has devoted her entire career to the practice of family law in Tennessee. She attended Auburn University and Nashville School of Law, and upon graduation in 1996, she opened her own law firm and has been assisting families throughout Tennessee since then. Learn more about Karla C. Miller here.