couple at divorce mediation

False Filings of Domestic Abuse for Divorce & Child Custody Leverage

Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. Dec. 18, 2020

Domestic violence often plays a significant role in both divorce and child custody battles. It is estimated that over 15.5 million children witness domestic violence in any given year according to a study conducted by the Journal of Family Violence. Accusations of domestic violence are often a matter of one spouse’s word versus the other. Deciding whose version receives more credence in the court hinges upon the strength of the evidence.

It can be relatively easy to allege domestic abuse to garner sympathy from the court in pursuit of a better result in a divorce or child custody battle. Regardless of whether or not the accusations are true, unfortunately, some individuals attempt to use domestic violence as an avenue to gain the upper hand, even when there is little proof of such allegations.

If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, or if you have been a victim now accused of filing false allegations, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced Pennsylvania family law attorney as soon as possible. This is a battle that you can’t afford to take on alone. With a compassionate, aggressive, and experienced attorney on your side, you’ll have a much better chance at pursuing a successful outcome.

For more than 15 years, my law firm, Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C., has provided reliable legal representation to individuals and families in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding areas. I help all victims, whether they have been falsely accused or have been accused of filing false charges.

The Consequences of Domestic Abuse Claims

Domestic abuse allegations can have both criminal and civil implications. You could be criminally charged and, if convicted, serve jail time, be assessed fines, and ordered out of your home. That criminal record can have a severe impact on your ability to convince a family court to award you custody of your children in divorce proceedings. Even without a conviction, the family court will take the charges into consideration when deciding a child custody battle.

Any civil charges can result in the court issuing a “protection from abuse” order, which they tend to do in an effort to err on the side of caution. An order of protection would prohibit you from having any contact with the alleged victim and preclude you from residing in your home if you still live with the alleged victim. Any violations of the order can result in incarceration.

Given that the court wants to ensure that anyone who actually has been violent will not begin abusing the children, you may be unable to have contact with your children as well. If allowed to see your children, you might have to do so while being supervised by a court-appointed guardian or another official. Such allegations can also affect the amount of child support you are required to provide, compensating for the lack of time and resources you would normally extend in a normal child custody agreement.

Additionally, the court may order you to undergo anger management classes or other therapy at your expense. You might also be prohibited from purchasing or owning a firearm. These allegations can also negatively affect your personal and professional relationships, employment, finances, and a myriad of other aspects of your life.

What to Do When You’ve Been Falsely Accused of Domestic Abuse

The burden of proof in domestic violence allegations typically favors the alleged victim. It is common practice for the court to issue a protection from abuse order with little or no actual proof of the violence and with no notice to the accused. Only during a court hearing does the accused have an opportunity to hear the basis of the alleged victim’s claim and defend themselves against the charges.

In a criminal case, the prosecution has the same burden of proof as with any other criminal charge, meaning they must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil court, the bar for the burden of proof is much lower.

In either case, if you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, you need an aggressive attorney on your side who has experience defending clients from these types of charges and allegations.

A skilled family law attorney can help you minimize conflict with your spouse, interview any potential witnesses, expose any inconsistencies within the allegations, hold the court to legal standards of evidence, and challenge the allegations at every level.

What to Do If You’ve Been Accused Of Filing a False Claim for Leverage

There are also times when valid claims of domestic abuse are filed but the abuser attempts to turn the tables on the victim. The family court takes the same view of someone discovered to have filed false allegations as it does of real perpetrators of violence.

Those accused of filing false allegations to gain leverage in a divorce or child custody battle need an experienced and aggressive attorney on their side as well. Your attorney will help you build a case using witnesses, documents, and other methods to meet the burden of proof required for the family court judge to protect you and your children.

Why You Should Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney in Pennsylvania

Whether you have been falsely accused of domestic violence or have been accused of filing false allegations to gain leverage in a divorce or custody battle, you have everything to lose if you are unable to prove the facts. Don’t face this difficult legal battle on your own. Work with an experienced family law attorney today to get the reliable legal counsel and reputation you need.

When you choose to work with my firm, Marc V. Taiani, Esquire and Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C., you’ll be working with an experienced family law and divorce attorney who has represented countless clients across the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. If you or someone you know is facing domestic abuse charges in a divorce or child custody battle, and you live in Pittsburgh, Fox Chapel, Penn Hills, Aspinwall, Oakmont Borough, or any of the surrounding areas, reach out to my firm today. I am dedicated to helping clients seek the justice they deserve.