It is sadly common for an opposing party in a family law case to engage in conduct that is fraudulent or involves perjury (lying under oath). Handling those situations properly, so that the lies do not result in an unfair custody, child support, or other outcome is of great importance.
There are many ways that an opposing party may be dishonest during a divorce, custody, or guardianship case. Such dishonesty can be manifest in written answers to discovery, documents that are produced, or testimony in court. Regardless of the manner in which the lying occurs, it can be harmful. Some examples:
- Untrue domestic abuse accusations
- Hiding or lying about the existence of documents
- Dishonesty about a parent’s involvement (or lack thereof) with a child
- Falsely claiming to have complied with a visitation order, when the visitation was actually improperly denied
- Lying about where a person or child really lives
- Hiding income so as to try and lower child support or alimony
- Forged letters or other documents
- Hiding retirement accounts in a divorce case
It is important to take the proper actions during a case to detect and expose dishonesty from the opposing party. Failing to do so will result in a situation where the judge may incorrectly believe the dishonest statements, and as a result may enter a ruling that is unfair and harmful. In extreme cases, that can result in a loss of custody.
Exposing such lies is work is something that is done over the course of the case, as many of the tools that can be used to address such lies take time. For example, written discovery in Illinois takes 28 days, while it takes 30 in Iowa. Obtaining documents (e.g. paystubs from an employer) through a subpoena can take weeks depending upon the process that needs to be employed in the particular case. Using the Illinois Freedom of Information Act or Iowa Open Records Act to obtain police reports can also take many days. Accordingly, a person with a custody or divorce case is wise to retain an attorney at once and work with that attorney throughout the case, as handling the case properly from start to finish is vital when the opposing party is engaging in dishonesty.