Divorce and family law matters can certainly be an emotional time. In many of these cases, parties are worried about custody and support of their children.
Custody cases in particular can cause a wide-range of emotions. While parties should never put their children in the middle, parties can sometimes get caught up in a contentious custody battle. This can cause some parties to become emotional and lose sight of what is really important.
Divorce cases involving spousal maintenance (formerly known as “alimony”) can also be contentious. There are certain scenarios where one party feels as if they will not be able to meet their needs without the financial help of their soon-to-be ex-spouse.
In some of these cases, one of the parties might make more income than the other. In certain cases, one party might make substantially more than the other. It might be that one party has education, skills and a work history that the other party simply does not have.
However, in an effort at gaining an advantage in a custody or spousal support case, some parties are tempted to loft scandalous allegations. Sometimes, the allegations may have little or no merit. They may even be exaggerated, embellished or untruthful altogether. But to gain an apparent advantage, or due to their anger or emotions, they are tempted to fling mud in a variety of ways.
It might mean that they file a motion in the family court that contains scandalous information. It could be that they issue some subpoenas or take depositions where they bring these allegations. In other cases, party might decide to call protective services (also known as DFS or family services) on the other parent when the children are not facing real risk from abuse or neglect. They might even call the police on the other parent when nothing has happened to warrant it. It could be that they begin contacting co-workers or involving the other party’s employer or business contacts unnecessarily.
Obviously, if there are legitimate allegations that are there, those need to be raised. At the same time, if a party is simply stirring the pot by raising scandalous allegations that have little or no merit, our of anger or to gain an advantage, this is not helpful.
The truth is that if they kill the golden goose, then what? In other words, if the party who makes substantially more income has their reputation sullied in the community, or they lose their job, how does this help the situation? For example, this can hurt the spousal maintenance case of the party bringing these scandalous allegations. In other words, how can the other party pay spousal maintenance if they end up losing business (due to their reputation being harmed in the community) or, worse yet, they lose their job altogether?
Even if they were to get custody based on these scandalous allegations, if the other party loses business or their job, it can also have the net effect of lowering the child support amount. More importantly, it can also impact the kids emotionally if they end up being interviewed by protective services or a guardian ad litem who is investigating the allegations. Psychologically, this can be damaging to the children and has the net effect of putting the kids in the middle of the dispute between their parents.
Further, if the allegations are frivolous, it can also impact the credibility of the party raising the allegations with the family court. Many family court judges are not impressed with parties who raise scandalous allegations against the other party that have little or no merit. This can result in a boomerang effect where the party who brought the frivolous allegations ends up being the one hurt in the family court.
In the end, it is wise to think twice before trying to kill the golden goose. Scandalous allegations should really only be raised where they have real merit.