What Are the Penalties for False Allegations of Child Abuse in Child Custody Cases?

Divorcing couples have to agree to several compromises when they decide to split with their spouses. Depending on the reasons for a divorce, the process can quickly become contentious and bitter. Unfortunately, some divorcing parents use their children as props in divorce proceedings, sometimes going so far as to make false allegations of child abuse against the other parent. There are several measures in place aimed at preventing divorcing parents from doing so, and it is crucial for all divorcing couples to understand the importance of being truthful in divorce proceedings.

The Orange County Court system always rules in the best interests of children in any divorce. While they tend to err on the side of caution when allegations of abuse enter the discussion, there are several laws in place to deter divorcing parents from making such false allegations. If the court discovers a divorcing parent made false accusations for leverage in a divorce battle, he or she will face several negative consequences.

Limited Custody

If the court discovers a parent lied about his or her spouse to improve his or her chances of securing child custody, this is taken as an indication that the lying spouse does not have the best interests of the child or children in mind and simply wishes to manipulate the situation for personal gain or out of spite. After such a discovery, the court may determine the parent who made the false allegations may only have limited, supervised visitation time with his or her children. The falsely accused parent must show the court that the other parent made these accusations with the intent to disrupt his or her lawful contact with the couple’s children.


After proving an accusation of child abuse to be false, the accused parent may then proceed to file a claim for sanctions against the accuser. The accuser may then have to pay the accused’s court fees and any other costs incurred due to the false allegations, as well as any other remedies the court deems appropriate. The accused must clear his or her name and then file a claim for sanctions within a reasonable time.

Reconsideration of Custody Ruling

If a falsely accused parent can prove the accuser committed a crime in connection with the false allegations of child abuse, he or she can file for a reconsideration of the custody order. Once the falsely accused parent clears the air surrounding the allegations, he or she may then proceed to file a civil action against the accuser, who may then face criminal charges as well.

Divorces can be tense, emotional ordeals, but it should be a priority for divorcing parents to put the well-being of their children before any other concerns. When a divorcing parent attempts to undermine the relationship the child or children have with the other parent, he or she faces significant legal penalties and may even lose custody of the children. In any case, it is never worth making false accusations against anyone, especially in cases involving children.