High conflict custody disputes
What are high conflict custody disputes?
This article is dedicated to all the innocent dads and men out there who have ever been accused of something they never did during a high conflict custody dispute. Even women and people from all walks of life may benefit from it as well. Hopefully, through awareness, education, and people taking the proper legal action, we will eventually be able to curb what I consider, and that is, a gross miscarriage of justice and a social plague that is damaging our families and children. High Conflict Custody: False Allegations and Parental Alienation is a problem that must be solved.
Each year more than one million American children experience the divorce of their parents and approximately one-fourth of divorces involve an allegation of intimate partner violence.1 In high conflict custody disputes and divorce, this happens far too often. Each year, an estimated 175,000 children are involved in a divorce with a false allegation of domestic violence.2
After becoming a dad and being on the receiving end of false accusations. I’ve seen and witnessed first hand the damage it can do. I never dreamed of having to jump through so many legal hoops and situations in life, simply by just wanting to be a dad and playing a more active role as a father in my child’s life. Over the course of going on 9 years now, there has to be light at the end of the tunnel somewhere?
After facing, going through, and experiencing multiple (4), unfounded allegations of abuse, I’ve learned a thing or two and have seen how lies and words get twisted so far out of context that it simply just amazes me. I’ve had just about enough of this misjustice in our society. My hope and prayer is you will be as outraged too because at the rate things are going, you or someone you know could be facing this situation before you know it.
So many people, simply wander through their life thinking nothing bad will ever happen to them. After all, the majority of people we encounter on a daily basis are friends, family, coworkers and good law abiding citizens. (At least one would hope so) God forbid that you, your child, your son, your daughter, friend, family member or someone you know will ever have to go through this horrible and tragic event.
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” -Author Unknown
Protect the Innocent ( This means men, women, and children)
Fightingdads is about the truth, helping and protecting innocent people and seeking justice. This is not a website to excuse or help someone that has truly or actually abused someone, or God forbid a child.
Many people, however, especially men and dads, simply just trying to be a part of their children’s lives, being a decent human being and dad, are falsely accused of physical and/or even sexual abuse during a high conflict custody dispute. Often, one parent will make a false accusation to make the other parent look bad, try to make themselves look “good”, or simply just out of “revenge.”
The accuser could even be suffering from a mental disorder or undiagnosed disorder that no one knows about. The accuser possibly could have been abused as a child themselves, and they project their own fears or dysfunction onto the other parent, and or even worse, the child. Regardless of whichever one it is. In my opinion, it is absolutely despicable and disgraceful to make a false allegation. It is one thing to report validated abuse or suspected abuse, but to make an allegation out of spite to gain an unfair court advantage or for personal gain is incomprehensible, and certainly, not in the best interests of the child.
Countless men, and even sometimes women, are falsely accused of something that they did not do. It’s a tactic that parents and people have been using for years during a divorce or custody battle and it needs to stop. Innocent people should not be punished for something that they did not do and there needs to be consequences for the people that make these baseless and unfounded allegations.
“For someone to falsely accuse another out of anger and vengeance silences the voices of the many real victims.” – Judge presiding in Rudker Smith Trial *
The Problem- False Allegations and Parental Alienation
People that falsely accuse, hurt people that are not only accused. They take away precious resources from agencies such as the police, child protective services, Doctor.’s, therapists and even the legal system from pursuing those that truly need to be investigated, prosecuted and held accountable for their actions. The annual taxpayer costs for federal poverty programs arising from family fragmentation and fatherlessness are conservatively estimated at $14 to $112 billion.* False accusers have no idea what they are doing to their children in the meantime. The psychological and emotional impact can cause harm, that lasts for years. For some, this even means the rest of their lives.
Parental alienation and high conflict custody disputes
Parental alienation is often the cause for these baseless accusations. Wikipedia describes Parental alienation as the process, and the result, of psychological manipulation of a child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent and/or other family members. It is a distinctive form of psychological abuse and family violence, towards both the child and the rejected family members, that occurs almost exclusively in association with family separation or divorce, particularly where legal action is involved. It undermines the core principles of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
“While some mental health professionals can debate if Parental Alienation is a “syndrome” and should be included in the DSM-5. What mental health professionals and our legal system can’t ignore, are the facts that it happens and has devastating effects on our children.” -Fightingdads
Some courts recognize parental alienation as a form of child abuse with long-term effects and serious outcomes for the child. Some jurisdictions, including Brazil and Mexico, have enacted parental alienation as a criminal offense. Other jurisdictions may suspend child support in cases where parental alienation occurs. For example, in New York, in Matter of Robert Coull v. Pamela Rottman, No. 2014-01516, 2015 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 6611 (September 2, 2015), where the father was prevented from seeing his son by the child’s mother through a “pattern of alienation”, child support was suspended.
So, we can continue to allow for this behavior to continue, or we can treat it like every other form of abuse to a child. You can dress a pig up with lipstick all day long, but at the end of the day, a pig is still a pig, and psychological abuse is still a form abuse, especially to a child.
Simply because it’s not currently in the DSM-5, doesn’t mean that it isn’t real and doesn’t happen. Oftentimes, I believe that psychologists and doctors don’t want to believe that a person would be capable of doing such things because out of the 99.9% of the real loving mothers, and fathers, that they see on an everyday basis are well…are normal, sane, and caring parents. They presume that what a parent is telling them is the truth and would never intentionally lie or make up something regarding the health or well being of their child.
Mental Health Professionals- Parental Alienation
Be it an underlying mental issue, disorder or “PAS.” “A survey taken at the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts’ annual (2014) conference reported 98% agreement “in support of the basic tenet of parental alienation: children can be manipulated by one parent to reject the other parent who does not deserve to be rejected.”For the child, the biopsychosocial-spiritual effects of parental alienation are devastating. For both the alienated parent and child, the removal and denial of contact in the absence of neglect or abuse constitute cruel and unusual treatment. … . As a form of child maltreatment, parental alienation is a serious child protection matter as it undermines a basic principle of social justice for children: the right to know and be cared for by both of one’s parents.
When are people going to wake up to this fact? There are very clear, distinct symptoms, signs, patterns, and facts that parental alienation exists and causes children harm. Call it what you may, but a pig is still a pig.
The impact and devastation that a false allegation has on a person is almost completely unbearable. Being publicly accused of a crime one did not commit could lead a person to jump off a bridge. Once the information is out there, defending yourself, clearing your name, fighting suspicion and tolerating disdain is a horrible predicament. – Carrie Barron M.D. Psychology Today
Facing any crime or allegation is stressful in and of itself. But the very thought of being labeled a child abuser and going on a lifelong child registry is 10x worse. The thought of going to jail or prison for something that you did not do is equally frightening. The fact that someone can go before a judge or magistrate and literally strip the rights to see your very own child with nothing more than “sworn testimony” is ludicrous. Especially if that person is a compulsive liar, mentally ill, or out for revenge. It’s very similar to going before a grand jury. Surely you’ve heard the old adage “ You can indict a ham sandwich in a grand jury.” Well, in our opinion, it’s essentially the same.
The first to testify in a lawsuit seems right until someone comes forward and is cross-examined.” Proverbs 18:17
Then, after your rights have been temporarily blocked or suspended, you have to go and fight to clear your name, if you choose to. Hopefully, you are fortunate enough that you can hire an attorney. I believe this is why, in part, as to why so many fathers and dads give up their rights to be in their children’s lives in the first place. They are already facing an uphill battle simply by being “a man” in a custody dispute, even much more so by being accused of abuse.
Then, you have to sit, and dwell, and go to work(or at least try to) on top of defending yourself and pick up the pieces of your life as you try to figure out what in the world just happened? Then, after a while, most of your friends and family will find out. Some of them will stand beside you and some will question or distance themselves from you because after all, who wants to be around a child abuser? (rightfully so) I wouldn’t either. Most importantly, it harms the child. If we, as a society, stress the importance of protecting children from abuse. Then why not protect them from psychological abuse?
3 steps that could help during high conflict custody disputes
1.) Get a Camera
It is a sad statement and place to be in when you have to practically record and live every event of your life on either audio or video. But, I would rather do that than be falsely prosecuted or accused of a crime that I never committed. For example, take what happened to my wife. There was someone who tried to obtain a restraining order against her. But, because we had an in-home security camera, it caught the entire incident on full audio and visual, and was able to show it to the judge and the order was dismissed. Right before the trial, God gave her the acronym PEACE.
Present Evidence Accusations Crumble Everywhere. And that’s what happened. Her attorney showed evidence of what really happened and not someone’s distorted view of what they thought had happened.
During a false allegation, you may even consider taking a polygraph test.
2.) Document everything
I have repeated this over and over again throughout Fightingdads.com. Document as much as you can. Keep emails, texts, and when and where you were, etc. Especially if you are in a high conflict custody dispute.With technology the way, it is today this is becoming easier and could easily help prove your innocence of being or not being somewhere at a certain time or place. There was even a pretty good documentary on Netflix called Longshot about a man who was caught on camera being at a Dodger’s game, the night someone was murdered and he got the blame for it. Thankfully for him and his family, by the hard-working effort of his attorney, and going through hours of video and pursuing justice for an innocent man, his name was eventually cleared.
3.) Hire an attorney
Get some legal advice. Start educating yourself and be conscientious of your surroundings at all times. Try not to allow yourself to be put in a situation where you could be harmed or threatened. If you are faced with an allegation you better pray, seek God, and fight like hell. Accusations of abuse are serious and should be taken with the highest levels of precaution, however, people need to have discernment and use common sense as well when investigating them.
There has to and should be consequences for the accuser as well. False allegations cause far too much pain and cost far too much on individuals and a society in whole to simply go unchecked or unpunished. Yes, we should do everything in our power to encourage someone to make a report of true abuse, however, making one for court advantage or out of spite is an entirely different ballgame. You can file a civil suit against most people if they allegation was unfounded, but how is that protecting the child? How does that stop a revengeful ex from making baseless accusations? What if they don’t have any money to gain from and is that a true form of “punishment?” The truth is innocent people are innocent people and False accusations harm children too! The last time I checked, you are innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. I truly hope our justice system can help implement a better way of dealing with people that make false accusations.
1 States, 1999. Tables 155 and 159. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2000.