During the breakdown of a marriage, the amount of verbal barbs that get traded can leave outsiders searching for some semblance of what is considered true. In the raw emotion of the situation, the wrong thing may be said at times, but for most, physical lines are never crossed.
However, the court filing may say differently, which means that you may be facing some sort of false allegation against you and your character. Whether the charge is physical abuse, sexual abuse, child abuse, or some other falsehood spoken against your character that allows your soon-to-be ex-spouse to qualify for a protective order, you need to be active in showing your innocence.
The first step
The first step in understanding the situation that you may be facing is identifying it. This begins with your attorney. Meet with them to gain a better understanding of what you are being accused of and to formulate a strategy to show your innocence.
This means avoiding getting angry. As difficult as it may be, the worst thing a guy can do if he is falsely accused of something is to get angry. If you do get angry, you are showing yourself as an aggressor and making your soon-to-be ex-spouse appear to be a victim of your emotional and aggressive behavior. This is not the narrative you want to be depicting during the divorce experience, especially when allegations are pending.
These strategies can vary depending on the situation, the individuals involved, the extent of the allegations, and the laws of your state, but during this period of time, it is the attorney’s job to make sure that your testimony is more credible than the testimony of the soon-to-be ex-spouse, who has made the claim and filed for a protective order.
They can do this through evidence. If there are witnesses, pictures, statements, messages, receipts, time-stamped emails, phone records, or anything that can negate the false claims being made, use them. Any and all information available to refute the allegations can be beneficial to producing an accurate timeline or series of events will not only help dismiss the false allegations of misconduct, but it will discredit your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
Many who make false allegations have threatened to do so in the past, in an effort to keep a spouse in line. Therefore, when they do it before or during the divorce process, you can provide that information to your attorney to use in their counter argument.
False allegations and abuse
If the allegations have to do with abuse, it is vital that you do not place yourself in situations where you would be alone with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If there is children involved, exchanges of custody should be made in public, in front of as many witnesses as possible.
This helps avoid any further false allegations of misconduct.
Order of protection
However, this exchange could be made difficult, given the order of protection. Men find themselves the target of these orders the majority of the time, with 85 percent of protective orders entered against men, according to a 2011 Stop Abusive and Violent Environments report.
Even if the reasons for the order of protection are proven to be false, it has done a considerable amount of damage. It forces you out of the family house, which is something that attorney advise against strongly, in any other circumstance. It creates potential custody issues, given the fact that family courts across the country will look at the marital home as being the best place for the child. If you move out for any reason, it limits your parenting time, making you less likely to obtain a favorable custody situation.
Not only does it complicate the custody situation, but it leaves you paying for two sets of bills for two households. This can jeopardize your financial security during a time of uncertainty.
Utilizing an order of protection is a strategic move by your soon-to-be ex-spouse that is intended to get you out of the marital home. They may lie. They may falsely claim domestic abuse. If they want you out of the house badly enough, they can falsely accuse you of a variety of things. You need to be able to protect yourself from the damaging effects of the low burden of proof that it takes to acquire an order of protection.
While an order of protection is a necessary tool to use against someone who poses a physical, emotional, mental, or sexual threat against you, it also can be used as a weapon for those that wish to falsify claims against a soon-to-be ex-spouse whom they feel wronged them. It’s important to understand the proper steps to go about fighting these falsehoods and maintain the composure necessary to prevail in the end.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.