As you may be aware, Family Law matters can quickly snowball out of control. Both sides may threaten to take the house or the kids or may falsely claim abuse to gain the upper hand in a divorce proceeding. Sadly, lawyers play a role in the drama by escalating conflict. Why would this happen? Simply follow the money – lawyers make the most money on high conflict court cases. The almighty billable hour and rigid law firm policies create a toxic environment where your family becomes the pawn in a complicated and expensive game of chess.
To gain power in a court proceeding, we increasingly see more false accusations of abuse. If allegations are falsely made, parents can quickly lose their reputation and employment and spiral financially and emotionally out of control. It can be difficult to defend yourself when a false allegation is made against you. Even if your partner does not have enough evidence to prove the case, the damage has already been done. The alleged crime becomes public record for all to witness. Although making false allegations is a crime in Pennsylvania, it can be difficult to prove.
Typically, false claims arise when one partner becomes desperate. The courts are set up adversarially so that one party or both can easily become financially and emotionally depleted. Lawyers often promise clients they have the power to prevail in their case. When the case starts to unravel, one party may accuse the other of neglect, abuse, or failure to follow court orders. The parent may begin to coach the children to make statements to therapists, doctors, or teachers. These professionals are “mandatory reporters” and can circumvent direct reporting by the parent to the agency, appearing more credible in a court proceeding. Unfortunately, the accused party will have to spend an enormous amount of time and money defending the false allegations.
The aftermath of false allegations can be devastating to families. The consequences of making a false allegation are often ignored, and the accused parent has typically exhausted their emotional and financial resources. Leaving the accused parent with overwhelming depression, anxiety, resentment, and a feeling that “life is not worth living.” In particular, the rate of suicide in divorced men is at an all-time high. Research suggests that the cause may be the physical and emotional separation of a father and child. Often, courts grant custody rights to the mother, leaving fathers that have not only lost their marriage but also their children and property.
One way to avoid the “Family Law Nightmare” is to keep your family out of court. If you are willing to work with an experienced and professionally trained mediator, your family matters are more likely to have a successful outcome. You and your partner can create an agreement that is mutually fulfilling and meets the needs of both the parents and the children. Mediation is future-focused, meaning, couples work together to find solutions to matters that are resolved quickly, and affordably, and offer a more satisfying outcome for the family.
You have a choice.
Mediation is an alternative to the two attorney adversarial court process. Help your family avoid the “Family Law Nightmare”, find out more about mediation here: www.clementmediation.com.
Dawn Clement is a Pennsylvania Family Law Mediator & Attorney, Conflict Resolution Specialist, and Professor.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.