Picture this situation: you are facing a divorce after twenty years of marriage. You are a person who has always tried to do the right thing- whether in your work, your parenting, or in your marriage. You were caught completely off guard by your wife filing for divorce from you. That's not exactly a familiar position for you to find yourself in being caught off guard, that is. Now that you are looking through the divorce paperwork you can see that your spouse is attempting to make some allegations that you are engaging in behavior that you have no recollection of. Long story short, you think that your wife is lying to the judge about you to gain an upper hand in the divorce.
This is not a farfetched, hypothetical situation to find yourself in. People every day find themselves having to figure out how to deal with challenges in a divorce setting which stem from false allegations about a host of different subjects in the life of two married people. However, allegations about financial improprieties, problems with raising children, and issues with domestic and family violence are probably the most difficult to handle. For one, these allegations are hurtful. That the person with whom you spend the most time is the one making the allegations is a shot to your pride and your sense of right and wrong. If she can make these allegations against you after twenty years of marriage- what else could happen in your divorce?
You can be made to feel like you have no control over the divorce when your spouse is just able to make false allegations against you seemingly out of the blue. While you weren’t able to control her filing for divorce from you that does not mean that there is nothing you can do when it comes to protecting yourself from those kinds of false allegations. That is what I would like to discuss with you in today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. You have a right to stand up for yourself in a divorce from false allegations made against you. What that means is that you need to be deliberate, in control, and prepared to handle attacks that are unfair and unfounded. Having an experienced family law attorney by your side can help with that a great deal.
The best attorneys in southeast Texas to help you in this situation are those with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our team of attorneys and legal professionals is here to serve you and your family. We offer consultations which are free of charge six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. When you feel like your back is against the wall and nobody is here to help, we want you to know that our staff and attorneys are here to assist you. We can help you create a plan to fight back and advocate for yourself. Having a plan that involves a strong offense and defense is what wins in divorce cases. We can help you fine-tune your case and develop a strategy that is second to none.
Meet the allegations head-on
You may not be a person that deals well with confrontations, but your divorce is going to be one of those times where you have to do this. It is not enough for you to hope that this situation resolves itself or that it goes away on its own. Rather, you need to handle the problem before the problem handles you. We know that the divorce process is not fun to be a part of. Needing to go through the stresses associated with having false allegations made against you by your spouse is the last thing that you probably want to deal with at this time. However, what you need to understand is that your spouse is willing to do whatever it takes to try to harm you and your case. These false allegations may be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his or her plan within the context of a divorce to hit you where it hurts. The ball is in your court to decide how to proceed.
The sooner you can jump on top of an allegation like this, the better. In reality, your spouse can use an allegation against you involving something like family violence and turn that into a reason to have Child Protective Services (CPS) begin an investigation into you and your family. This would then be a convenient pretext for your spouse to ask a judge to either limit your visitation with the children or even deny you visitation until a conclusion can be reached as to the CPS investigation. I am not saying that things will progress in your situation to this level but it is certainly possible and would not be the first time something like this happened in a divorce.
This puts you in a position where you are having to fight a two-front war. The first front is against CPS based on the false allegations of your spouse. Hopefully, it won't take CPS long to figure out that the claims made against you are meritless, and therefore an investigation should result in no further action being taken. However, this can still be detrimental to your case in that you are taking up important time to waste on a CPS investigation that should not have been opened in the first place. All the while you are losing time with your child that you cannot get back.
Working with an experienced family law attorney with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is a good place for you to begin your search for a plan when it comes to answers on how to deal with false allegations. Being aggressive in defending yourself is a good idea but making the wrong decision on how to proceed can hurt your case. You need to collect information and then be deliberate and thorough about how to handle these kinds of allegations. Handling these types of allegations correctly at the beginning of your case can mean that you can eliminate their threat to you during the remainder of your case.
On the other hand, if you misplay your hand and are not effective in rebuking these allegations then you run into a situation where you may have to continually face down the false allegations for the remainder of your case. This is not the outcome that you would have hoped for and can potentially harm your case a great deal. It is up to you as far as how you would like to proceed and it is not necessarily a good idea to follow your initial plan. Coming up with multiple plans over time may end up being the direction that you need to go in.
It is harder to remain calm in a situation like this than you may have ordinarily believed. While your mind may be on a thousand different subjects at once you need to bear in mind that it is not necessarily the case that you need to return fire for fire with your spouse. Meaning that just because you have been the victim of false allegations made against you, that does not mean that you should consider doing the same to your spouse.
Facts are your friends
Have you ever been worried about a situation in your life? I think it’s safe to say that we have all felt overwhelmed at various points in our lives. While anxiety about the things in life that are outside our control is nothing new or unique for this type of situation involving false allegations, it still feels like the world is out of our control and that we need to be able to do whatever it takes to protect ourselves moving forward. At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we have found over time that when it comes to false allegations, facts are your friends. This means that when you have false allegations to counter, facts are your friends.
For starters, you should consider exactly what your spouse is leveling against you as far as allegations are concerned. It is important to note that you may have a misunderstanding about what is being alleged against you. Rather than relying upon what someone else has told you it pays to learn exactly what is being said about you by your spouse. What is the exact nature of the allegations being made against you as well as the circumstances under which those allegations were made? What is your spouse basing their opinion on? If an allegation is being made against you because of an incident that never occurred, you should find out as best you can whether the allegation is based on a misunderstanding or whether it is being made up completely.
This means that you need to perform some basic detective work when it comes to these types of allegations that are being made against you. The evidence being made against you by your spouse should be heavily scrutinized. Are the documents that your spouse is relying upon real documents have they been created to make you look bad? Are the photos real or created on a computer? The authenticity of the documents or photos is critical at a stage in the case where you are going to have to study hard whether these allegations being made have any credibility.
Time is of the essence when you are attempting to counteract bad information and false narratives set forth by your spouse. Their imagination, with the help of their attorney, may have been running wild for some time. It is up to you to stop that story from establishing itself as truth in the context of your divorce. Pushing back against your spouse means setting the truth of your story apart from the lies and false allegations made by your spouse. The more diligent you are able showing holes in your spouse’s story and flaws in their arguments the better off you will be.
You need to start looking for real evidence that will negate your spouse’s arguments or at least make them look less credible. This means again combating falsehoods with facts. The way that your spouse conducted herself during your marriage can hurt the positions that she is taking as far as these allegations are concerned. I say this because the less honest, trustworthy, and decent she was to you during the marriage the less a judge is going to be apt to believe her stories about bad behavior on your part.
Of course, this puts pressure on you to be able to present evidence that shows that your spouse is not credible or honest. How you do that will depend upon your case and the circumstances that you find yourself in. Again, this is the sort of pressure that is put on you during a case like this. For you to be able to maximize your opportunities to defend yourself you need to be prepared to present evidence and show a court why you are the upstanding person that you truly are. It is not enough for you to make arguments and present testimony without a strategy. The more prepared and intentional that you are the better chances you have of avoiding problems down the line in your case and with your spouse.
Do not disregard the law while defending yourself from false allegations
This is nothing more than reiterating the lessons that you learned when you were a kid. Just because somebody does something rotten to you does not mean that you should do the same to him or her. Doing that can obscure your spouse's bad behavior and instead make it seem like you both are equally to blame. This is because it's true that both of you have shown the propensity to engage in unethical behavior at best and behavior that goes against temporary or standing orders at worst. This can be disastrous for you and can be a missed opportunity for you to be able to show that you are an upstanding citizen in your marriage.
Presenting yourself as someone honest and credible rather than as someone willing to stoop as low as your spouse when given the opportunity is a mistake. You still need to be ethical and act within the confines of your case. It is best to not say anything to your spouse during the period immediately following the false allegation made against you. The more you say to him or her the more ammunition that he or she has to use against you. You could fall into a trap that is laid by your spouse without even realizing it. She could goad you into saying something that you regret or even make a threat against her. That would be a monumental mistake.
Let’s say that you are facing a worst-case scenario where your spouse has successfully made a false allegation against you and now you are in a situation where you have had your visitation with the kids temporarily denied. You are not going to be happy about this. For many people, this is going to be a tempting situation to find yourself in as far as violating the court orders in some fashion. After all the ruling from the judge wasn't fair, your spouse is lying and you did nothing wrong, right? This, also, would be a mistake. You should follow any temporary orders or restraining orders set up by the court.
If you think you are in hot water now, try violating a court order. The bad situation that you find yourself in will get even worse. I am not saying that you are going to need to continually turn the other cheek when it comes to your spouse. What I am saying is that a court order is something serious and you need to treat it as such. The other thing that you need to remember is that you have this temporary court order to deal with for now but do not have to let it define the rest of your case.
Finally, keep in mind that your spouse can also suffer because of the false allegations made against you. Working with an experienced family law attorney is the first step that you can take to put yourself in a position where you can begin to benefit from these false allegations. You may even be able to put your spouse on the defensive- but only if you have a plan.
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 as well as about how your family's circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.