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False allegations of child abuse give the accuser power

While either parent can be the victim of false allegations of child abuse, fathers are typically targeted more often than mothers.

Here are some things that you need to understand as you move forward in your case.

False allegations of child abuse give the accuser immediate power over the situation. Since false allegations are usually made through the court when the accusing parent seeks a protective order, the accused parent is seldom present for the initial hearing. The judge is most likely going to grant the emergency protective, pending a later hearing -- during which you can defend yourself -- to err on the side of caution.

This accomplishes the following things:

-- You are forced out of the house. You have to pick up your personal possessions while watched by the police and relocate, which puts your spouse in control of everything you can't carry out with you during a short visit.

-- You probably won't have access to half of the paperwork you need to adequately prepare yourself for the divorce hearing. Most likely, everything from your bank statements to your stock records will be somewhere in the house you can't legally enter.

-- You are at an automatic disadvantage when it comes to visitation and custody. Until the hearing comes, you'll be lucky if you are able to get even supervised visitation. More than likely, you'll get no visitation at all.

-- Your spouse may use it as a way to barter. If you're desperate enough to see your children or scared you're going to jail, you may be desperate enough to agree to lousy divorce terms, outrageous support demands or an unequal division of assets just to get your spouse to drop the allegations.

-- It embarrasses you. Your spouse may even arrange to have you served with the order at work, just for maximum humiliation. That may satisfy your spouse's need for a little revenge.

What can you do to protect yourself?

-- Don't lose your temper with the judge, the police or the process server. That plays into your spouse's game.

-- Talk to your friends, family and neighbors. Find out who is willing to testify on your behalf.

-- Don't break the order of protection. Wait for your day in court.

-- Get an experienced attorney who knows how to handle false allegations of abuse.

Source: FindLaw, "Do's and Don'ts: False Allegations of Child Abuse," accessed April 21, 2017

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