The use of false allegations or statements made against individuals by ex-spouses has become more and more common in recent years. Unfortunately, this trend does not seem to be going away any time soon. This leaves many individuals feeling lost, wondering “how can I defend myself against all the false statements my ex has put in court filings?” In this blog, we look to answer that question by looking at a few options individuals may be able to use when defending themselves against false allegations.
One option an individual has in defending themselves against false statements made in a court filing is to file a response to the specific court filing that contains the false statements. For example, say your ex-spouse files a contempt petition against you which contains false allegations. You would then be able to file a “response” to this contempt petition in which you would be able to lay out exactly which statements are false and why. A response to a specific court filing can prove very beneficial because there is a lot of flexibility in exactly how you can attack the false statements based upon the facts of the case. At a minimum, filing a response is generally recommended so you can at least let the court know you would like to challenge the allegations via a hearing before the court takes any action.
Another option would be to file what is known as a motion to strike. The Court of Appeals has held that a “motion to strike is properly utilized to have an improper pleading struck.”1 Precedential law holds that a “motion to strike is proper for purposes of stripping a pleading of immaterial, impertinent, and redundant matter, or to strike out a sham pleading, or to strike a pleading from the files in case of failure to comply with formalities of a statute.”2 Importantly, our Supreme Court has long recognized that a motion to strike can be used “when it plainly appears on the face thereof to be false in fact.”3 Thus, if you have evidence that clearly indicates the statements made by your ex in a court filing are false, you may be able to use a motion to strike the pleading and remove it from the record. Which would, in turn, dismiss the false statements against you.
The above information is general in nature and the options provided are only a few that may be available in defending yourself against false allegations. Ultimately, how you defend yourself against false statements made in a court filing is going to come down to the facts and circumstances of the specific case. These types of situations are extremely fact-sensitive. Family law matters are emotional times for all involved. Not only are they emotional, but often time complex. Obtaining skilled counsel is key to relieving some of the burden. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle civil and criminal matters of all types throughout the state. It is written and posted for general educational purposes and is not to be construed as legal advice or solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.