Mom is hugging her two children who have sad and anxiety expression

Sorting truth from fiction in child custody disputes can be difficult. Balancing emotions and history, and utilizing technology all affect custody disputes and outcomes. False accusations are common in child custody disputes, as parties attempt to gain leverage in negotiations by filing bogus claims or seeking restraining orders based on falsehoods.

Overview of Child Custody

Child custody disputes are decided by what is in the best interests of the child. In Illinois, the courts often find that 50/50 sharing is in the child’s best interest. However, whenever accusations of abuse are present, especially involving the child, custodial or visitation rights can be severely restricted or even terminated.

The court often errs on the side of caution and temporarily terminates visitation pending a hearing. However, because of COVID and the court backlog, that temporary termination can last months. Therefore, victims of false accusations need to forcefully and immediately confront these allegations, or they could be restricted from visiting their children for a long time.

Sorting Truth from Fiction in Child Custody Disputes

Sorting truth from fiction in custody disputes is complicated because there is a natural revulsion against abusers of children. The way to sort through falsehoods is by interviewing both parents and the children – a delicate procedure. Moreover, the younger the children, the harder it is to sort truth from fiction.

The process is further complicated because the accusing parent usually doesn’t consent to a voluntary interview with a psychologist. That parent likely holds the upper hand during the proceedings and therefore only stands to lose by voluntarily submitting to an evaluation. Thus, the accusing parent usually must be compelled by the court or by some other manner. Eventually, an assessment will be conducted as the allegations need to be substantiated. However, just by making the allegation, it is possible to complicate the process.

Once a psychologist is appointed, evaluations are conducted. Ordinarily, a psychologist should be able to ascertain if the allegations are true or false. The psychologist will interview all involved parties – and anyone else recommended by the parties or attorneys. Through these interviews, the psychologist evaluates the motivation behind the allegations and presents a report to the court. The court, i.e., the judge, then determines if sufficient facts support the allegation.