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Child Custody Factor #14: Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect.

There are divorce cases where one parent desires to remove the other parent from the household while they are going through the divorce process. Since both parents have a right to continue residing in their mutual household, some parents file a petition for an injunction for domestic violence with false information. 

The Court may enter a temporary order removing the other parent from the household for the safety of the children pending a court hearing on the matter. This order at least temporarily removed the other parent both from the household and also from the children’s lives.

The Court does not approve of such behavior. Restraining orders are meant for parties going through a divorce or separation that truly need a restraining order, such as when the parties end their relationship and the emotions of one or both of the parents rise so high that it resulted in physical violence or a legitimate threat of violence.

Restraining orders are not meant to be a tactical advantage. Illegitimately removing the other parent from a child’s life interferes with factor one of this series of what judges consider in making child custody decisions as it interferes with the other parent’s ability to have a close and continuing relationship with the child.

If the removed parent later proves that the allegations made against him or her were false, then the Court should consider that the person making the allegations may not foster a close and continuing relationship between the child with the other parent. Absent actual child abuse, abandonment, neglect or a legitimate threat of same, it is deemed to be in a child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents. If one parent cannot accept that and makes false allegations that interferes with the other parent’s relationship with the child, then the parent that made the allegations should not be the parent that has the majority time with the child.

This 20 part series tracks what judges are required to consider when making child custody and parenting plan determinations to help parents focus on what is relevant to the court to effectively present their divorce, paternity or modification case. Factors 1 to 13 are in the child custody archives section of Rebekah Brown-Wiseman, P.A.’s Blog.