It probably isn’t a surprise for you to learn that people will say or do anything in a divorce to get ahead. Morals, their sense of decency, or even the likelihood that the allegations will be believable are all concerns that get tossed out the window in a divorce. All that matters is that there is a chance that the allegation sticks and that it makes you look bad. The risks of that lie, that falsehood coming back to bite him or she is not at the top of their list of concerns. Rather, the idea of getting an advantage on you in the divorce is what matters. To do it by any means necessary is part of their thought process, as well.
Let’s not forget that the person we are talking about on the other side of the divorce from you is your spouse. This is the person that has more information, access, and "dirt" on you than anyone. He or she can use this access to gain perspective into your most vulnerable areas in the divorce and then can try to use those vulnerabilities to harm your case. All of the things in your life that are the least proud of. The things that you wanted to be able to keep a secret but were not able. Those are the type of things that people can and will do in a divorce to gain an inch’s worth of an advantage over their spouse.
When you find yourself in a divorce with a spouse who is making false accusations and allegations against you then you are in a position where you cannot simply play the defense against those allegations and hope that they go away on their own. Your spouse is willing to bend the truth and their sense of right/wrong, as well. You need to have a strategy to not only deflect those false allegations but to project truth and establish right and wrong so that additional allegations of these sorts do not come up again. That is how you effectively promote your interests in a divorce without stooping to the level of your spouse.
The question that many people in your shoes ask at this stage is how do you go about doing this? How can you repel those allegations effectively while ensuring that you are not on the defense against those kinds of false allegations again? That is what we are going to discuss in today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. How can you as a person going through a divorce do so with some integrity while your spouse is throwing their integrity out the window in hopes of scoring some cheap points against you in one way or another in your divorce? That is what we are going to cover today. If you have any questions about the subject matter that we cover in this blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan for a free of charge consultation today.
What sort of allegations can be made against you in a divorce?
Your spouse is only limited by their imagination when it comes to allegations that can be flung at you in a divorce. Desperate people get creative when it comes to making arguments and allegations against their spouse in a divorce. You can expect that your spouse will try to do whatever it takes to knock you off your feet or at the very least distract you in a divorce setting. Do not assume that just because you have taken the high road in the divorce your spouse will necessarily do the same. Rather, you should be on guard against bad behavior from your spouse throughout the case no matter what sort of tactics you have employed or not employed in your case.
If you are a husband going through a divorce the most disconcerting and sickening of all the different kinds of allegations that can be made against you is that of domestic abuse. You can ask any person on the street and their opinions on domestic abusers will all be similar. It doesn't matter what their background, political beliefs, or anything else is: domestic abusers are among the most disliked of all types of people. So, what does that mean for a divorce if you are having false allegations of domestic violence thrown at you?
The first reaction that you would have in a situation like this is to be taken aback. Even if in your heart of hearts you know that these sorts of allegations are false it can still take a moment for you to collect yourself well enough to come back with any sort of appropriate reaction. However, while you are in a position where it is understandable to be thrown off after having this kind of allegation made against you, it is not enough to sit back and hope that these allegations will go away on their own.
The first thing that could happen is that law enforcement contacts you to get a statement from you, conduct a basic investigation, and do other police work of that nature. So much of their investigation will depend upon the nature of the allegations made against you and whether there is substantive evidence of any of these allegations of abuse. Since we are assuming that allegations are made up in this blog post the actual purpose of what your spouse is trying to do is probably not to get you arrested, but rather to throw you off your plan for the divorce and to cause you to re-focus on these allegations for a period. If you are going to be looking at these allegations for a week that means that you cannot focus on playing offense in other areas of your divorce.
Domestic abuse not only speaks to a person's willingness to be violent with a member of their family but also directly brings into question their ability to make good decisions. Good decision-making is at the center of a parent's ability to take care of their children. If you find yourself in a divorce with minor children and your spouse has leveled allegations of domestic abuse against you then you are in for a fight when it comes to your children. Expect your background to be looked at extensively. If you have any record of criminal behavior, violence, or anger toward your children then that will become an issue in your case.
What you can do in the meantime is build up your case from the standpoint of your involvement with your children, your experiences with them, and your work history, as well as defend yourself from the allegations that your spouse has made. It is not enough for you to hope that this kind of allegation goes away. The very fact that your spouse was willing to make the false allegation in the first place shows just how far she is willing to go to gain an advantage over you in the case.
With that said, you should be ready to present a counterfactual to the judge if you must go before him or her for a hearing. This is another reason why having an experienced family law attorney is important in a divorce. Being caught flat-footed while your spouse is makings inappropriate and false allegations against you is a bad idea. An attorney can have you playing effective defense and offense during a case like this rather than sitting back and having to only repel the offensive tactics of your spouse.
Abuse claims may be rooted in your spouse's desire not only to become the primary conservator of your children but also to restrict your rights and duties to the children. Rights and duties about children are what are known as conservatorship proceedings in a Texas divorce. Being the conservator of children means that you can make decisions on their behalf and also that you have to care for your children in various ways. An abuser has emotional issues as well as self-control issues that bring into question their ability to make wise decisions. This is a central component of the issue of conservatorship and your spouse may think she can win on this issue simply by making a false allegation of abuse against you.
Next, your spouse may think she can pull a fast one on you by alleging that you are hiding assets from her and the divorce court. There are a couple of different ways that this could happen in a divorce. The first is by filing incorrect information with the court when it comes to the status of the property that you own. For example, in a divorce, you will be required to submit to the court a form known as an inventory and appraisement. This form requests that you list all property that you are aware of owned by you and your spouse. You will then estimate (appraise) the value of the property, so the court has an idea of how much property you own and what its value is.
This form should be treated as a statement made under oath. Providing false information on this form can and will be viewed harshly by a family court judge. Nevertheless, if you are providing this sort of information in a form you should assume that doing so incorrectly can and will be used against you in the divorce. Some spouses will feel like he or she is entitled to do so, however. Do not be surprised if you find yourself in a position where your spouse is going to try to make it appear like you are withholding information from the court as far as property is concerned. She could list property in her inventory that you are not alleging in your own. That she would not be able to produce the property that she is alleging exists will only go to show that has hidden it from view.
Another area where false allegations regarding financial matters could occur is regarding child support. Child support in Texas is built upon the idea that a percentage (based on how many children you have) should be applied against your net monthly income. Determining a person’s net monthly income may be simple if he or she works a 9-5 job. However, if you are a small business owner then this may not be as easy as you would think. If you have multiple streams of income, side hustles, and things of this nature then adding up all the streams of income can be difficult. Couple that with owning a business where you may take different amounts of money out each month depending on those circumstances could also prove difficult to show what your true income is each month.
It is against this backdrop that your spouse could choose to make allegations that you are hiding income from the court. That she has no proof of this is irrelevant. She can be held responsible for making these types of allegations without merit but in the meantime, the allegations force you to produce information to the court that you are not hiding income. Having to go through tax forms and other bank statements for your business to show where every penny is going is a good way for your spouse to spend their time because it forces you to come forward and do a thorough analysis of your financials for the business. Again, this causes you to spend a great deal of time worrying about defensive matters rather than going on the offense against her in support of your points.
The last kind of false allegation that may be made against you in a divorce is that of adultery. This is probably the most frequently leveled claim against a spouse going through a divorce. Community property division as well as child custody matters are all potentially impacted by valid claims of adultery. Adultery is not the charge that many people believe that it is in connection with a divorce. For one, adultery is something that only becomes a real issue in the case your children are exposed to cheating or if you have spent community funds on your significant other. Dalliances outside the marriage are not right, morally speaking, but whether those dalliances make a big difference in your case depends on other factors. Adultery alone is not a silver bullet for your spouse's case, in other words.
Closing thoughts on false allegations in a divorce
We all know that divorce is not easy. This is not a situation where you are going to be holding hands with your spouse and communicating settlement offers nicely and politely throughout the entire case. Rather, the two of you are on different wavelengths now and, probably, communicating with this person is not going to be easy. With that said, you should be prepared for a full-frontal attack from your spouse in the way of false allegations. That's not to say that this will happen in your case, but it could. If you are not ready, then you will suffer from a lack of preparation.
False allegations made against you in a divorce put the onus on you to fight back. This is not something where you can let the charges or allegations made against you float right on by without doing something to combat them. Your first instinct may be to try and let cooler heads prevail. However, if your spouse is willing to make false allegations against you then he or she is willing to do just about anything to “win” the divorce or at least come out on top in certain areas of your case. You need to fight fire with fire. Doing so in an ethical way is extremely important.
What you want to avoid is a situation where your case becomes dominated by these false allegations. All that needs to happen for this to be the case for your family is that the lie is repeated enough times that it sort of becomes the prevailing theme in your case. Once this happens reality and fiction start to become blended. At a certain point, you will be unable to tell one from the other, unfortunately.
Fortunately for you, there are options to fight back. Being aggressive and targeted in your attempts to fight back is the best way to go. You do not need to stoop to your spouse's level, either. All you need to do is to have a plan and stick with it. Having an experienced family law attorney by your side to inform and educate you is critical. From there, you can use that information to make good decisions for yourself, so these false allegations do not sink your case before it even has a chance to set sail.
Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law.