Laws such as New Jersey's Domestic Violence Act are vital for protecting actual victims. But in some instances, like a contentious divorce or child custody case, one party may use these laws to make false allegations of domestic violence against the other.
A false accusation of domestic violence can have long-reaching implications. Prompt legal action after such a claim can limit the damage.
Ex Parte Hearings
A request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) often accompanies an allegation of domestic violence. These orders are created ex parte, meaning the accused is not present during the hearing and is often not even aware the hearing is taking place.
If a TRO is granted, the accused may not be able to return to their residence or may have their custody or visitation with children limited. These allegations may also affect the accused's job, which is why prompt action is necessary to limit the damage caused by false allegations.
Disproving a domestic violence allegation isn't easy. The person fighting a TRO has a higher bar to disprove the claims than the person requesting the TRO does.
To dispute a domestic violence allegation or a TRO, you need to gather as much evidence as possible to support your claims. Anything from receipts and bills to social media posts may be admissible. Be aware that there may be some forms of evidence the law does not allow. An experienced legal team can help you determine what evidence you can use.
Tell the Truth
Be honest in telling your side of the story. Exaggeration or deliberate omission can backfire. Veering from the truth, even on small matters, gives the other party ways to disprove your statements.
For example, your former partner says the two of you went out to dinner on a Saturday night and got into an argument. You disagree about the nature of that argument, but you don't say that. Instead, you claim that the two of you didn't go out to dinner. When your former partner provides a receipt from the meal with your signature, you lose credibility.
If you don't remember a detail or event, or you know you lost your temper, admit it.
As the recent Johnny Depp-Amber Heard case demonstrated, one avenue for those falsely accused of domestic violence is a defamation lawsuit.
A lawsuit has pros and cons. One downside is that lawsuits are time- and money-intensive. For people who have had measurable damages, such as lost income, a defamation lawsuit can restore their name and, in some cases, result in compensation for their financial losses.
Experienced Legal Team
Domestic violence is a serious crime. If you've been falsely accused of abuse, you need to act quickly. Family law attorney Joseph D. Lento is experienced with both domestic violence and TROs. To learn how the Lento Law Firm can help you, contact us online or call 888-535-3686.