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How Can You Protect Yourself In Family Law If You’re Falsely Accused Of Domestic Violence?

While there is no doubt that domestic violence is a serious problem for victims subjected to abusive conduct and threats, domestic violence is also a problem for those who are falsely accused as a tactic to gain an advantage in a family law case. Victims of domestic violence may gain more preferential treatment when courts are deciding critical issues in divorce, such as alimony and property division, as well as issues involving children including custody and visitation rights. The desire to gain these advantages—or just to “win” in court—can prompt one partner to accuse the other of domestic violence when those accusations are not based on true facts.

If you have been accused, it is important to take the allegations seriously even if you believe they are completely false, because courts and law enforcement officials are required to treat the accusations seriously. You can best protect your rights and future opportunities by working closely with an attorney who understands the impact of domestic violence accusations and by following your attorney’s advice to the fullest extent possible.

The details of each case are unique, so it is important to get legal advice tailored to your situation. For general reference, here are some factors to keep in mind when it comes to defending yourself against domestic violence accusations in family law court.

If There’s a DVRO, Learn What You Need to Do to Comply

One of the first things to do is to find out whether a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) has been issued by the court and if so, learn exactly what you need to do to comply with the terms of the order. Regardless of whether domestic violence accusations are true or false, and even if the terms of the restraining order are not fair, you must do everything you can to avoid a violation. Your attorney may be able to work to get the terms modified, but until then, violating a DVRO just makes your situation worse.

Seemingly innocent actions, such as posting something on social media, stopping by to pick up your pajamas, or calling your child to say “goodnight” can be treated as a violation, depending on what is prohibited in the order. If you violate the terms of a DVRO, you can be charged with serious crime, even though the order was issued by a civil court. In addition to facing criminal penalties such as jail time and fines, violation of a restraining order makes the allegations of domestic violence look that much more plausible. Protect yourself by complying with the order.

Avoid Contact with Your Accuser

Even if there’s no DVRO in place, it is still wise to avoid all contact with the person who accused you of domestic violence. Do not give your accuser any ammunition to use against you. If you need to communicate, do so through your attorney so that you cannot be accused of any threatening behavior. While it is natural to want to defend yourself or explain statements or actions that were misinterpreted, remember that your attempts to explain can be taken wrongly as attempts to intimidate. Fight the urge to defend yourself and let your attorney—who has been trained in effective techniques—do the fighting strategically on your behalf.

Gather Evidence to Support Your Defense

Although you will put your attorney on the front line in the fight for your defense, you can take effective steps to help make the effort as successful as possible. The court will examine evidence to determine whether or not acts of domestic violence occurred, so you need to collect evidence to defend yourself. Preserve all prior communications such as text message, phone message, and emails involving your accuser. If they present evidence of “threatening” communication, you may be able to prove that your words were taken out of context by showing the full conversation.

Consider those who may have witnessed angry exchanges and discuss with your attorney whether to ask those individuals to serve as a witness on your behalf. Find out if anyone has video footage to support your defense, such as recordings from a security camera.

Talk to Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC if Domestic Violence Impacts Your Family Law Case

With 300+ years of collective experience in family law matters, the team at Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC has seen our fair share of domestic violence allegations. We assist victims who need protection, but when accusations are false, we know how to protect those who have been wrongfully accused.

Your rights are important, and you need to act promptly and effectively to protect them when allegations of domestic violence have been made against you. Contact our team today to get started on the right strategy for family law defense.

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