Domestic abuse is a very serious crime and one that many spouses endure on a daily basis. While laws must protect those who are truly being victimized by their spouse in a violent way, what happens if you have been falsely accused of abusing your spouse? Those same laws could lead to devastating effects on your life and even limit your chances of gaining custody of your children in a divorce.
Once your spouse accuses you of domestic violence or abuse of your children, you need to take steps immediately to understand what is going on and to protect yourself. It can be difficult to regain the trust of family, friends, and even employers even once you are proven innocent. Don't wait - contact a lawyer for help right away.
Understand Domestic Relationship Personal Protection Orders
If your spouse has accused you of domestic abuse, one of the first things you can expect to receive is a Domestic Relationship Personal Protection Order or PPO. This is a civil protection order that prevents you from being around your spouse, children, or other family members that you have been accused of abusing.
The protection order covers a wide range of areas that could greatly affect your life. These can include not being able to enter your home or residence where your spouse or children are currently residing in. You also cannot take any children with whom you have joint custody to live with you during divorce proceedings or when you move out.
This order can also prevent you from gaining any information about your minor child. This can include the new address where the child or children are staying or phone numbers in which to contact them.
Learn the Effects on Divorce Proceedings
The accusation of spousal abuse can have adverse effects on divorce proceedings. For example, a protective order can prevent you from having any access at all to your home if your spouse and children still live there. This also means that you will have no access to any of your personal property. It may be possible to have a police officer accompany you to the home, but you may be limited in what you can remove.
Your ability to gain even joint custody of your minor children will be severely hindered as well. Protective orders usually extend to your children, and this means you will have no visitation rights, including any supervised visits. This will extend until at least the divorce is final or you are found not a risk to the children.
This inability to see your children during divorce proceedings can prevent a judge from granting custody, even joint custody to you. Even if you clear your name, the judge might rule that since the children have an established routine they have been following, it would be unwise and detrimental to the children to change it by granting custody to you.
If your spouse has already made accusations or has threatened to, you need to protect yourself. If you are able to, move out of the home and only have contact with your spouse with a witness present. This is especially important if your relationship was a volatile one.
Contact a lawyer as soon as possible and have them look into the protective order. The protective order might not meet the legal standards under the law. This means, for example, if a third party has claimed to witness your abuse of your spouse or children but offer no proof of their statement, such as video footage, it is considered hearsay. If this is the case, the protective order could be thrown out.
If you are able to, keep all receipts from restaurants, gas stations, work time sheets, telephone or text records, and even ask your lawyer to get video surveillance proof of your location if possible during the alleged incidents of violence to prove you were not at home.
These records can prove the allegations were false and clear your name. You can also submit video surveillance if your home has security cameras installed inside. The footage could be used to clear your name.
If you need help clearing your name in a false domestic abuse allegation, contact us at Brown Raduazo & Hilderley PLLC today for a consultation.