In a family law setting, a false accusation in an abuse claim can be particularly damaging for all of the parties involved.  False accusations of abuse, or false allegations of abuse commonly occur where one party is wrongfully trying to obtain custody of a child

If one party wrongfully accuses the other of abuse, it can weaken the amount of trust in an already strained relationship.  Also, false accusations of abuse can also lead to more legal problems for the party that is making false claims. 

Some common types of false accusations of abuse include:

This last type of false accusation of abuse can be particularly damaging for the child’s psychological experience.  For example, if one parent falsely accuses the other of child abuse, the effects of such exposure to harmful threats can have lasting consequences on the child.  Also, the child may have to undergo intensive physical and medical examination to determine whether the charges are true. 

What are Some Legal Consequences of False Accusations of Abuse?

False accusations of abuse can result in serious legal consequences for the party that is caught lying in connection with court proceedings.  The most serious consequence would be that the person would face perjury charges, as it is illegal to knowingly make false statements while under oath during court proceedings.  Perjury is actually a separate criminal charge that may be punishable by criminal fines and/or jail sentences. 

Perjury may also include making false statements during depositions outside of court, or making false written representations in court documents.  Some jurisdictions have expanded perjury to include false statements that are made in any legal setting, not just those made during trial. 

Other forms of false allegations of abuse may include:

These types of violations may also result in severe legal consequences, depending on state and local laws.   

Finally, intentionally causing someone to commit perjury is called “subornation of perjury” and is also a criminal offense.  So, for example, forcing a witness to lie on the stand, or forcing a child to testify in support of a false claim can result in subornation charges.

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have Legal Issues Involving False Accusations of Abuse?

False accusations of child abuse or spousal abuse are treated very seriously by the courts.  They show that a party is basically not interested in the well-being of the child or their spouse.  If you have any legal issues involving false accusations and abuse claims, you may wish to contact an experienced family lawyer for advice.  An attorney can help represent you in court and determine how the law may affect your case.