What can I do if I was falsely accused of domestic violence?

In emotionally charged situations, especially during divorce or child custody disputes, parties often raise unfounded allegations of domestic violence in an attempt to gain an advantage. While the Court disapproves of and even punishes parties for making such false claims; the severe nature of domestic violence claims and the deference courts have to give such claims means it is often very difficult to prove such claims are false. It is imperative that you at least consult an attorney if such allegations are made against you. Failing to adequately fight such claims could have a severe impact on your rights and even your liberty. If you find yourself in this situation, please contact our office to schedule a consultation as soon as possible.

What can I do to protect myself from domestic violence?

Whether you are married or not the best thing you can do to protect yourself from domestic violence is to leave the situation and contact local law enforcement as soon as possible. Law enforcement will make an arrest, if possible, for any complaint of domestic violence.  If the arrest is made an automatic criminal protection order will go into effect for at least 7 days. This criminal protection order will prevent the defendant from returning to the family home or having contact with the victim. In addition to the criminal protection order, you can also file a request for a civil protection order, which is discussed above here.

During the criminal process you may be assigned a victim’s advocate who can help explain the process to you. However, an attorney can help ensure that the District Attorney is adequately pursing your case and help you through the process of obtaining a civil protection order, as well as represent you in any subsequent divorce, child custody, or property dispute that might arise as a result of the domestic violence and protection orders. The attorneys at Smith, Shellenberger, and Salazar, LLC can represent you during this difficult time, and help ensure that you are safe and can live a healthy secure life after domestic violence.

What impact will a domestic violence allegation have on my relationship with my kids?

As stated above, if your spouse has received a civil protection order against you, this order can make such tasks like discussing parenting issues and having pick-ups and drop offs very difficult. Special provisions will often have to be negotiated so the parties can continue to co-parent. Additionally, when the judge is considering the best interests of the child in determining parenting time, the judge must give consideration to the child’s physical, emotional and mental needs. Thus, if domestic violence is proven the court must take that into account and make all attempts to ensure the child’s safety and emotional well being are protected. This could result the domestic violence perpetrator’s interaction with children being limited and monitored.

Therefore, if you have been accused of or found to have committed domestic violence, it is important to contact an attorney immediately so that you can ensure the issue is addressed as fairly as possible before a family court.

How can I protect myself from domestic violence during my divorce?

You can request a civil protection order. Colorado law provides for issuance of temporary protection orders upon an allegation of physical or emotional abuse. The court must then hold a hearing on the protection order within seven (7) days. At that hearing the court will determine whether the protection order will become permanent based on the testimony and evidence provided at the hearing. Protection orders can have varying terms, but often they require the restrained party to keep a certain physical distance from the other party and avoid certain locations the protected party is likely to be, like their home or work.

Note, if you have children and there are no allegations of abuse toward the children the court should not issue a protection order against the restrained party as it relates to the children. However, a protection order can still impact a number of issues related to co-parenting so it is important to consult an attorney if this is the case.

Civil protection orders can have important implications for your health and safety as well as the relationship with your spouse and children, thus it is always a good idea to consult an attorney before seeking a civil protection order during divorce. As with all issues in divorce people sometimes use allegations of domestic violence as a tool to hurt or cast their other spouse in a poor light. However, remember that if the other party can show that the allegations are fabricated or exaggerated, that will only cast the accusing party in a bad light with the court. This is another reason to contact the attorneys at Smith, Shellenberger and Salazar, LLC before taking action regarding domestic violence or trying to defend against such actions.