By Stephen J. Plog
In Part 1 of this article, I discussed the basic concept of false allegations of abuse or violence being raise in Colorado custody cases. This included delving into some of the case specific and systemic consequences or results flowing from people making false allegations. I also touched on the damage these types of allegations can have on children and their bonds with the accused parents. Finally, I touched on the fact that false allegations are something that sometimes take time to deal with and, depending on the specific allegations, may require a certain amount of patience. With years of practicing as a Denver custody attorney under my belt, I have seen enough situations to have formulated the belief that justice has a way of working things out and exposing the lies, in the end. However, exposing lies and false allegations doesn’t just happen by chance. In reality, it takes skill, experience, a methodical approach to ultimately refuting those allegations.
In a general sense, the burden of proof regarding false allegations will fall upon the person making them, meaning courts generally adhere to the notion that the person raising an allegation of abuse or violence had better be able to back them up. Though the accuser may bear that burden to build his or her case up, I am firm believer in the accused taking affirmative, proactive steps to build a case for refuting those allegations. In reality, some allegations, such as those of a sexual abuse of a child, can lead a court to take a better-safe-than-sorry approach from the onset. No judge wants to be responsible for allowing potentially dangerous contact. As such, they may put protections in place, initially, which have the wrongly accused feeling like he or she is already damned in the eyes of the court. As an empathic person, I wholly understand why they would feel this way. As a professional, I know that things will need to take their course and that ultimately those false allegations can be undone and turned around. As indicated in Part 1, it can truly be an exercise in patience. Between drafting Parts 1 and 2, I came across an article in which it took a man wrongly accused of child abuse over 20 years before the system acknowledged he had one nothing wrong. This was an extreme case which ended in his parental rights being terminated, but exemplifies the tragic outcome and effect that false allegations can have on a custody case and a parent’s relationship with their children. Below, I will start discussing how to deal with various allegations and the process people may be faced with. Continue reading