Modification of a Custody Order: Part 6 – False Allegations

Among the factors that a court will consider in determining a modification of custody is false or unsubstantiated allegations made against one parent by the other parent.

When a parent is found to have made false allegations against the other parent this misconduct may justify awarding custody to the falsely accused parent.

For example, in one 2012 case, the mother had made unfounded CPS reports against the father that resulted in investigations.  The court held that her unfounded CPS reports reflected poorly on her as a parent and undermined her credibility as a witness  In another case, the court did not find that the mother’s allegations against the father were false, just unsubstantiated.  However, the court found that the mother’s unsubstantiated allegations against the father reflected poorly on her as a parent and undermined her credibility.

This is not to say that parents should be afraid to allege misconduct by the other parent.  But allegations made in bad faith or without a basis in fact reflect poorly on the parent making such.  These allegations may result in the child being interviewed by Child Protective Services, the police or other third parties.  This may thereby subject the child to some very unnecessary trauma.

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