Allegations of Domestic Violence and a Divorced Fathers Rights

False allegations of domestic violence have long been a ploy in divorce and custody proceedings. What rights do you have as a father when allegations of violence have been made? It is important to know your rights as a divorced or soon to be divorced father when claims of this type are leveled against you.

Facts about Domestic Violence

While some activists with an agenda still claim that men are the perpetrators of more than 90% of domestic violence, the reliable facts are much different. Dependable studies continue to show that women are responsible for 40% to nearly 50% of domestic violence.

What about false allegations? ┬áThe National Fathers’ Resource Center estimates that up to 80% of domestic violence charges against men are false or greatly exaggerated. There’s even a petition to Congress, to stop the false allegations!

In fact, this is one of the tactics regularly used to deny fathers of their rights to custody or visitation rights. They are often the outright lies of those who stand to gain by men being accused or convicted falsely. In some cases, they are the result of teachers, law-enforcement, overly-aggressive social workers or child protective service personnel adding two plus two and coming up with 10.

Divorced Father’s Rights When Allegations of Violence are Made

You have the same rights as anyone, the assumption of innocence until proven guilty. You have the right to consult with your attorney before answering any questions related to the allegations. You have the right to have your attorney present when being questioned by police, a child protective services investigator or anyone else related to the case. And you have the right to ignore questioning from those with no authority or jurisdiction in the case.

Protecting your Rights and Securing the Best Outcome

If allegations of domestic violence are made against you, these steps will help secure your rights and produce the most favorable outcome.

  • First, hire an attorney with a good reputation for defending the rights of divorced dads or dads going through a divorce. Choose a divorce lawyer who makes this his or her expertise.
  • Secondly, respond to any legal complaint that is made. Failing to respond will result in a judgment against you and likely lead to your loss of parenting rights and possibly much more.
  • Never plead No Contest to an accusation of violence. If you do, all future custody or visitation issues will likely be decided against you. Plea bargains aren’t much better. You may be persuaded to accept one in order to save others from the trauma of interviews or a trial. If the allegations are false, fight them to the end or you will likely lose your rights as a divorced father.
  • Take thorough notes any time you are being questioned by police, social workers or child protective services personnel. Record the conversations electronically if legal in your state.
  • If a restraining order has been obtained against you that has no validity, fight to have it rescinded. In family court, if you are under a restraining order it might be viewed as a significant strike against you, damaging your chances to maintain or regain your rights.

Taking the Next Step

The next step for you depends on your specific circumstances. But if you haven’t consulted with an attorney experienced in father’s rights issues, now might be a good time to do it. He or she will evaluate your situation and advise you on the best steps to take to maintain your rights as a divorced father.