What To Do When Your Ex Is Running a Smear Campaign Against You In an Arizona Family Law Case
Strategies To Take When Your Ex Is Making False Accusations
Our Arizona Family Attorneys take a look at some strategies as to addressing your ex when they are making false accusations. Our Phoenix Divorce Attorneys also look at some of the most common things that we see opposing parties try when they are attempting to discredit one another. Divorce and family law matters are very heated and contentious. However, things really come to a boil when the parties are trying to make each other look bad in the eyes of the court.
Breakups are usually hard, and some people handle them better than others. Some exes may try to make themselves feel better by airing the dirty laundry from your relationship to anyone who will listen, or even spreading false rumors. Your ex may be seeking revenge for your wrongs during the relationship, or simply doesn’t know how to handle their emotions during a breakup or divorce. At a certain point, your ex’s disparaging and discrediting your name could require family law intervention. For the most affordable family law representation without sacrificing quality, call or use our online form to schedule your free consultation.
Talking negatively about you to your friends, neighbors, and peers is one thing, but it is a whole different ball game if your ex talks badly about you to your children. If one parent constantly complains and degrades the other parent, this can be viewed as that parent’s attempt to sabotage the child’s relationship with the other parent. Your ex could also be spreading rumors that you are a neglectful, abusive, or otherwise unfit parent. The legal term for this is “parental alienation.” This is a serious form of misconduct in the eyes of family law judges.
So what can you do if your ex is trying to turn your child against you? In some circumstances, the judge in your case may actually modify custody because of your ex’s parental alienation. This is most appropriate when your ex is actively trying to destroy your relationship with your children, but you are unlikely to interfere with your children’s relationship with your ex.
Modifying Current Custody Orders
To modify your current custody orders, you will need to file a petition to modify with the court. You should indicate whether you want to modify legal decision-making (legal custody), parenting time (physical custody), or both. The petition should also include the date the last orders were entered, the name and location of the courthouse, and how you would like the orders to be changed. You should also include a copy of the previous orders. If you would like temporary orders in place until a hearing on the matter, you should include a request for temporary orders. There is a filing fee associated with filing a petition to modify custody in court.
The family law judge won’t grant a modification unless there has been a “substantial and continuing change in circumstances.” Additionally, at least 12 months must have passed since the last custody orders were entered. However, the judge will always hear an emergency petition to modify if the child is in danger. When deciding how to rule, the children’s best interests will always be the judge’s main priority. Unless one parent has been proven to be unfit, the judge will presume that it is in the children’s best interests to have a relationship with both parents.
General Tips For This Situation
Of course, every situation is unique. Our experienced divorce and family lawyers have seen most tactics and shady attempts to discredit. Not always can you afford an attorney to fight your battles. Below are a few ideas that may be helpful to you that do not involve an attorney.
However, there are several steps you can take that don’t involve a lawyer to alleviate your personal stress if your ex is bad-mouthing you all over town:
- Ignore your ex: It takes 2 to fight! As hard as this may be, refusing to acknowledge your ex’s rumors and lies can prevent the situation from escalating. If your ex is trying to get a rise out of you, this is one of the few ways you can win in this situation. Your ex will look even more unhinged if they constantly talk about someone who doesn’t appear to care about their actions and existence.
- Learn what you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder: While running a smear campaign alone isn’t enough to determine if someone has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, smear campaigns are a part of the narcissistic pattern of abuse. Thus, Narcissists will spread lies and rumors to degrade their partner’s reputation, keep people on their side, and make their partner feel like they would never be able to find another partner if they left. Therefore, you should read more about the signs of a narcissistic partner and take your next steps accordingly. This can help you understand the best way to react to your ex’s lies. If you feel that you are dealing with a narcissist, getting the assistance of an attorney that has worked with numerous cases that involve narcissistic traits would be a great place to start.
- Don’t fight alone, reach out for support: Your ex may be convincing, but there will always be some friends and relatives that will have your back no matter what. Find these people and discuss your situation with them. Make sure these are people who you can trust, and won’t repeat what you said to your ex. If you don’t have someone you can trust to talk about what is going on with your ex, you can look for a therapist or counselor to help you process your emotions. Your therapist will help you find healthy coping strategies and conflict resolution tools for your next relationship.
- Keep your AZ Family attorney aware of all updates: If you hired an attorney to represent you in your family law matter, your attorney should be apprised of all updates about your ex’s smear campaign as soon as possible. You may need to keep documentation proving the lies your ex said and when, as well as proof supporting your version of events. Your lawyer will advise you of any next steps you can take, as well as how you should engage with your ex when absolutely necessary.
- To every degree possible, keep your kids out of it: Parents splitting up is already stressful enough for children without the parents airing every frustration and grievance about each other to them, or in front of them. If you stoop to your ex’s level and disparage them to your children, the judge likely won’t care who “started it.” You can correct any lies that your ex has told your children about you, but don’t go mirroring that behavior unless you want to face the same potential consequences described in this article.
Consider Hiring a Dedicated Apache Junction Family Law Attorney
It’s usually advisable to retain a family law attorney to represent you in a divorce or custody matter, but especially so when your ex won’t stop disparaging your name. An Apache Junction attorney can help you keep track of the lies that your ex is spreading, and if necessary, craft this into a compelling case in front of the judge.
Things that experienced divorce lawyers can help you when filing divorce in Apache Junction, Arizona:
- Clearly articulate how your ex’s lies are hurting you and your children.
- Draft and file your petition to modify and all the accompanying documents.
- Negotiate an agreement out of court.
- Represent you at trial.
- Receive and review all updates and communications in your case.
- Assist with temporary orders, if necessary.
- An Apache Junction Divorce Lawyer will be your voice and advocate on your behalf.
Seek the assistance of a Maricopa County Family Lawyer
When you’re dealing with a difficult ex, you need an attorney who knows what they’re doing. Our Maricopa family law attorneys have several years of experience representing residents in Apache Junction, Maricopa County, Arizona in divorce and custody matters. Additionally, we help people resolve their legal issues in the most efficient and effective way possible. This kind of legal knowledge and experience doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive. Plus, our family and divorce lawyers offer affordable hourly rates as well as monthly payment options to work with your budget. To learn more about your rights under Arizona law, as well as to receive a competitive quote for family law representation, call or use our online form to schedule your free consultation today.