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Falsely accused of domestic violence? Know what to do

Some divorces get down and dirty right from the beginning. To wit, your spouse may press a false charge of domestic violence against you.

If such is the case, you need to spring into immediate action assembling your defense to these untrue allegations, as much is at stake. Your first knowledge of the situation may come in the form of a restraining order served on you at work or home. In other cases, you may actually be arrested. Either scenario is serious and requires your full attention.

Be proactive if you suspect it's coming

In some cases, there may be warning signs that your spouse or partner might be about to falsely accuse you. In fact, sometimes the person states this outright in the heat of the moment during a fight or argument. Take this seriously, and do the following:

  • Remove valuable documents from the home. You should take (or at least copy) birth certificates, passports, automobile titles, court orders and other legal documents. Relocate them somewhere to which your spouse has no access.
  • Let someone know. Tell someone whom you trust implicitly that you have reason to believe you will be falsely accused of domestic abuse. He or she can then prepare to bail you out if necessary and offer you a temporary place to stay.
  • Move money to a separate account. While you can face censure from the courts to clear out all the joint bank accounts and leave your spouse with no resources, you are within your rights to withdraw a portion of the funds in a joint checking or savings account and deposit it into an account under only your name. This allows you access to cash to hire legal counsel, arrange bail or rent an apartment.
  • Change your passwords. This really cannot be stressed enough. A vengeful spouse bent on destroying you or your reputation can wreak havoc on your life if they are able to access your social media accounts, emails and cellphone.

Those with firearms should remove them from the family home and secure them in another location. It's also wise to refrain from target practice during this volatile time.

Your spouse may use your otherwise innocent actions against you once your relationship deteriorates. For example, wrestling or roughhousing with the kids could potentially leave a mark or bruise that could become the basis of a false accusation of abuse. Ditto for any consensual bondage during marital sex.

False accusations of abuse are harmful across the board. Not only do they cause often irreparable harm to the falsely accused, but they divert attention and resources from those who truly have suffered abuse. Do your part to protect yourself from the fallout of false allegations during divorce.

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