Divorce can become messy and spiteful. Emotions run high, and conflicts can escalate fast and lead to some dire consequences. One spouse can start making false allegations of abuse against another one, especially involving children of that marriage.
False child abuse allegations, in particular, are a frequent tactic some parties may resort to during contested divorces. While a good family law attorney can help you dismiss such charges relatively easy, the investigations and court procedures can have a significant emotional toll. The sooner you address the matter, the less negative consequences you and your family will suffer. So, if you feel that you are a victim, here are the crucial things to keep in mind as you are trying to restore justice.
Mind The Temporary Protection Order
After filing child abuse allegations, the other parent will likely be granted a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) or a restraining order against you. Having such action against you means that you will have to leave the marital home (while continuing to pay expenses for it), or even face an unexpected child and/or spousal support payment.
In Colorado, once a TPO in place intends to restrict parenting time, a hearing must be held within 14 days. So at least you will not be waiting in limbo for a long time, although it is undoubtedly an emotionally wrenching time. But use it wisely:
- Contact a Colorado family attorney to help you prepare for the hearing
- Gather evidence in your favor and seek witnesses to provide good character references
- By no means, you should engage in any conversation with your spouse.
Consider Getting in Touch with a Child And Family Investigator
One thing you can do to protect yourself, and prove that the child abuse allegations are meritless is to get in touch with a child and family investigator (CFI).
The CFI is a neutral, court-appointed professional who will assess all relevant aspects of your custody case. This will include investigating allegations of abuse or domestic violence. You can also request a parental responsibilities evaluation from them.
However, be aware that Colorado courts may also choose to involve Child Protective Services (CPS) instead. Their 30-day investigative process can be more invasive and emotionally involved. But do not get defensive. Be upfront, forthright, and cooperate willingly. Also, notify your friends, neighbors, and professional contacts that a CPS officer may approach them.
Get Timely Help from a Family Lawyer
Child abuse is a felony. Those allegations can turn into severe charges and penalties such as permanent revocation of parenting rights or continuous social services investigations. So don't leave this matter unattended and seek legal counsel as soon as you can.
An experienced family attorney has been down this road with many clients before you. They will be able to provide you with the exact steps to take to get through this nightmare and perhaps even switch the odds in your favor.
If the allegations of abuse originated in the other parent, and there is a finding of no harm, you can potentially use that to show the court that the other parent cannot value the parent-child relationship that you have. In court, this is a significant factor when determining parenting time and decision making power. In other words, a false allegation can be used against the accuser. Of course, this depends on the specific circumstances in your case.
If you need help fighting false child abuse allegations, our firm has a long and successful track record and can make sure that you are represented as you should be.