There is no denying that domestic violence and other forms of abuse ruin lives and disrupt families. But there is another side of the domestic violence coin that can also be quite damaging — false allegations of abuse.

When police are summoned to the scene of an alleged domestic violence incident, they are forced to make quick judgment calls. While sometimes the evidence of abuse is clear-cut, other times it’s a “he said, she said” situation where the facts are nebulous and open to interpretation.

Abuse allegations as a divorce tactic

During particularly contentious divorces and custody battles, it’s not uncommon for one spouse (typically the wife — but not always) to accuse the other of domestic violence and/or abuse. The accusing spouse may also allege that the other abused the children in an attempt to get the upper hand at the next custody hearing.

Sometimes, allegations of abuse come seemingly out of left field, but often there are indications that one spouse may attempt to levy accusations against the other.

Steps to take if you suspect false allegations to arise

If there is any inkling that your spouse might falsely accuse you of abuse, consider doing the following:

  • Gather your important documents in a central location inaccessible to your spouse. Include passports, birth certificates, vehicle titles, Social Security cards and any other documents needed for identification purposes.
  • Change passwords on all smartphones, credit and financial accounts and computers.
  • Fund a separate account so that you have access to money in the event your ex wipes out joint accounts.
  • Let close friends and family know that you may be in need of a temporary place to stay on very short notice. Have a couple of back-up plans, even it means couch-surfing for a night or two.
  • Move firearms to a secure location outside of your home. Don’t target shoot or conceal-carry until these issues have resolved.
  • Don’t engage in rough-housing with the kids or any mutually-consented bondage or kinky sex practices with your spouse.
  • Never joke about sexual assault or marital rape.
  • Don’t throw objects in anger or frustration and never punch the walls or doors.

False allegations diminish the impact of actual domestic violence on true victims. If you face an untenable situation where you are being accused of abusing your partner or children, you need to be proactive. Make sure that nothing you say and do could be misconstrued and learn about the legal options you have in such situations.