If your separation, divorce or custody battle is growing more volatile, you may wake up each morning wondering what new frustration you will be dealing with. Your former partner has dug in, and you are also unwilling to compromise. Perhaps it has always been this way between you, or maybe some event raised the level of tension. In any case, you may not realize how quickly things can turn against you.
With one sentence, your former partner can change the course of your life, leaving you floundering on the defensive and watching everything you have worked for slip away. That one sentence is an accusation of domestic violence. In many cases, if someone accuses a person of domestic violence, New Jersey police have no choice but to make an arrest. If this happens to you, your troubles may be just beginning.
Why is it so serious?
Because of the dangerous nature of domestic violence, laws tend to err on the side of the victim. This leaves many who are falsely accused fighting for justice and struggling to protect their reputations and relationships. Once your former partner complains to police that you committed domestic violence, he or she quickly loses control of the situation.
Even if your accuser recants the accusations, police must still arrest you and proceed with charges. This is because domestic abusers often have such control over their victims that they bully them into recanting, leaving the victim in grave danger. Therefore, police must accept that the original accusations are valid. Your partner may have a moment of regret after contacting police, but the process must play out.
Don't make matters worse
The accusation can certainly arouse extreme emotions in you. You can imagine how your reputation, your career, your standing in the community and your other relationships -- including those with your children -- may suffer potentially irreparable damage from such charges. However, you can take steps to avoid exacerbating the situation, for example:
- Obeying any restraining order, even if it means not seeing your children
- Staying as calm as possible to avoid presenting the appearance that your emotions are unchecked
- Refraining from saying anything to police or anyone else without legal counsel
- Informing your family and friends of the situation before your accuser turns them against you
- Changing your passwords on email and social media so your accuser cannot use them to send false messages to substantiate claims of harassment
- Seeking legal assistance as quickly as possible
Even if your partner has not yet contacted police, you may recognize signs that he or she is willing to play this dangerous game. If so, you may avoid the situation all together by having an attorney on your side.