When you think of divorce, you may expect the parties to disagree and argue throughout the process. This is an emotional time for everyone involved and there can be heated exchanges and stressful moments where both sides can appear bitter and spiteful. Being angry during divorce is understandable. However, sometimes, former spouses will cross the line and make inaccurate statements and claims about each other. In this situation, knowing how to respond to untruthful accusations is important. My ex is making false allegations against me. What are my options?
Types of False Allegations in a California Divorce
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for false allegations to be raised during a California divorce. These kinds of claims are often brought in connection with child custody matters.
There can be serious consequences when parents make false allegations in a child custody case. Parents may make the mistake of falsely accusing the other because they believe it will help them get greater custodial rights. However, when parents lie about each other, everyone, especially their kids, can be harmed. Some of the allegations a parent may raise under these circumstances include the following:
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Domestic violence
- Criminal activity
These types of allegations can also be raised between spouses. When divorcing parties raise false claims, it can harm their cases as well as their children. There can also be legal consequences for the party making the false allegation.
Defamation of California Divorce
Under California law, a party who makes false child abuse allegations can be subject to sanctions. Additionally, the conduct may rise to the level of being defamation. Defamation occurs when a party communicates false information that harms another party’s reputation.
Defamation does not usually occur when someone expresses an opinion. For example, stating that your former spouse is manipulative and spiteful would be your opinion, not defamation. However, someone knowingly making a false statement that their ex has been physically abusive towards them or their kids could be defamatory.
Libel and Slander During Your California Divorce
Libel and slander are types of defamation of character. When the false allegation is written, it’s libel. When spoken, it is considered slander. Libel can occur when a party writes an email, posts a falsehood on social media, or uses another form of written content. Slander can occur when an untrue comment is made that harms the other party’s reputation.
Defamation can occur when a third party reads or hears a false statement and the subject of the false statement is harmed. If someone is injured in this manner during divorce, they can file an independent suit and seek remedies for their damages.
False Allegations Can be Harmful and Punishable
When parties resort to making false allegations during divorce, and their conduct is discovered, their actions can result in severe penalties. These tactics are ill-advised and often backfire on the accusing party. When it can be shown that a party knowingly presented false information to the court, that party’s credibility and case can be irreparably damaged.
If your ex is making false allegations against you, it’s important to work with a California divorce attorney as soon as possible to defend you and safeguard your case. Your divorce lawyer can take action to protect you from your ex’s false allegations and identify ways to disprove their claims. Your lawyer can also help you bring your ex’s conduct to the court’s attention so they can be held accountable.
Contact a California Divorce Attorney
Divorce can be stressful and contentious, and it’s important that you have the information you need to defend yourself during the process. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Judy L. Burger are experienced divorce attorneys who understand and can help. Call us at 415-293-8314 to schedule a private appointment or visit our website. We assist clients along California’s Northern to Southern Coast, including San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Marin, San Jose, Gold River, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Ventura/Oxnard, and surrounding communities.