Consequences of Domestic Violence Accusations
Accusations of domestic violence should only be raised when a family member, household member, or romantic partner causes someone harm or reasonably makes them fear for their health and safety. Average verbal arguments or angry communications that do not include actual violence, attempted violence, or threats of violence should not be twisted into something they are not. Unfortunately, during family matters in court, one individual may see an opportunity to sway the proceedings in their favor. Instead of fighting for a fair outcome through honesty and integrity, a spouse or parent may accuse you of domestic violence.
The potential consequences of domestic violence accusations in family and criminal court can be severe. Your reputation may be damaged. You could end up walking away from a marriage with less than you deserve, or you could see your children far less than what is best for them. If you are unable to address these accusations vigorously and promptly, then the impact on your life could be profound.
Contact a Pittsburgh domestic violence lawyer from Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100 as soon as possible to discuss your rights and options through a free, initial case consultation.
Consequences of Domestic Violence Accusations in Family Court
If you are currently in court for a family matter and your spouse or child’s other parent has accused you of abuse, you need to be aware of the potential consequences. Only by seeing the myriad of ways in which these allegations could impact you can you understand the need for a calm yet assertive response.
- Delay the Proceedings– If your spouse raises allegations that you have been violent, then this must be addressed immediately and thoroughly. It will likely add on multiple hearings to your family court matter, whether it is a divorce or child custody case. You and your attorney will have to respond to this claim before most other issues can be decided. A final decision in your case can be delayed by weeks or even months.
- Involve Child Protective Services (CPS)– Depending on how domestic violence accusations are made and what they entail, CPS could become involved. You may be placed under investigation for child abuse. If you are contacted by CPS, immediately call an attorney at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC.
- Force You to Change Your Lifestyle– When you are accused of domestic violence, particularly spousal or child abuse, you may have to endure restrictions on your life to protect yourself from further allegations. You may need to have another adult around when you spend time with your children or meet with your spouse to ensure there are witnesses to everything that happens. When facing domestic violence accusations, and experienced attorney can advise of you of what you should and should not do in terms of your lifestyle.
- Force You into Counseling or Treatment– Whether or not you truly need counseling, treatment for anger issues, or parenting classes, it may look like you are taking your obligations as a parent seriously by voluntarily trying to better yourself and your parenting skills. However, you also do not want any voluntary counseling or treatment to look like an admission of violent behavior. Speak with your attorney about whether proactively seeking mental health care during a family law case may benefit you.
- Lead to an Inequitable Property Settlement– It is not uncommon for allegations of domestic violence to be used by a spouse as leverage for a larger amount of the property settlement. Pennsylvania requires an equitable distribution of the marital estate, which means a judge will look at what is fair, not equal. A spouse may argue that it is fair for them to receive more than 50 percent of the assets, due to the abuse they have allegedly endured.
- Lead to Less Time with Your Children– One of the most common reasons for false accusations of domestic violence is to influence a child custody decision. Some parents will do whatever it takes to be awarded full custody of their child. When you are facing accusations of abuse, you must work with an aggressive attorney to clear your name and fight for your right to remain an active parent in your child’s life. If the other parent files a Protection from Abuse (PFA) Petition, you need to speak with your attorney immediately. If a PFA is awarded, this could keep you from having contact with your child.
- Psychologically Harm Your Child– One of the most heartbreaking consequences of domestic violence accusations is the harm it does to your child. It may limit the amount of time you are able to spend with your son or daughter alone, causing confusion that is hard to explain. When facing false accusations of abuse, be sure to consider how this affects your child and what may help them deal with the situation.
Possible Criminal Consequences of Domestic Violence Accusations
The real impact of domestic violence accusations can go far beyond your home and the family court. Allegations of violence, attempted violence, or threats often arise to the level of a criminal offense. While going through a divorce or trying to win custody or visitation with your children, you could end up facing criminal charges based on lies. While defending yourself in family court, you will need to work with a criminal defense attorney to defend yourself in criminal court against misdemeanor or felony charges, such as assault, battery, sexual assault, or stalking.
While the civil and criminal court systems are separate, there is no doubt that one can impact the other. An outcome of a criminal case in your favor can disprove the allegations during a divorce or child custody dispute, helping you obtain an equitable result. A finding against you in criminal court could be used against you during your family matter.
At Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC, we understand how frustrating it can be to handle civil and criminal matters at the same time. We will work closely with your defense team to ensure you are putting forth the most aggressive defense possible. We will fight for the best outcome in your situation, including a fair result to your family matter.
Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC Will Fight for Your Rights
If you are facing false accusations of domestic violence, attorney Anthony Piccirilli can help. He is well aware of the significant consequences of domestic violence accusations. He will listen to your story, answer your questions, address your concerns, and advise you on the best way to handle your situation. He will vigorously represent your interests in court and strive to achieve the best possible outcome. If the situation leads to criminal charges, he can guide you in obtaining an experienced criminal defense firm.