Why are there no penalties for false allegations in divorce and custody issues?
First, there are penalties meted out; in my opinion few (far too few) in law enforcement, child protective services, and courts, however, are sensitive to lying and then punish it and punish it fairly, appropriately, and effectively.
Clearly, the best people of whom to ask your question would be those who are lied to and who do nothing about it, but when I ask those people they usually lie (whether by omission or commission) as well. They usually won’t tell you the truth in response to the question because they don’t want to account for their failure to do their jobs properly.
“It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
“A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” ― Thomas Paine
So here are my honest observations in response to the questions “Why are there no penalties for false allegations in divorce and custody issues?” and “Why are people allowed to lie to judges and investigators with no penalties?”
There is no absolute failure to punish wrongdoers. But therein lies a problem of its own. Few (too few, in my opinion) are punished for lying to law enforcement, child protective services, the courts, etc. Such punishments are so infrequent and inconsistent, so arbitrary and capricious and selective, that they hardly vindicate the system.
That stated, in my opinion (and it’s an informed opinion), because there are the following beliefs—mere beliefs, mind you; these are not facts—in the system: A) there are insufficient resources to monitor, investigate, determine, and then punish the false allegations; B) (a corollary to “A”) keeping an eye out for, monitoring, investigating, determining, and then punishing false allegations, and B) (a corollary to “A”) is more trouble than it’s worth; C) punishing people makes the punishers unpopular and at risk of retaliation; D) imperfect people feel as though it is hypocritical to hold other people to standards when they themselves don’t uphold those standards.
Finally, one big reason lies aren’t punished is because they are so often believed! In family law especially, the more serious the allegations the more the urge to be protective (to err on the side of caution) clouds one’s judgment. Worse, in today’s culture of “start with believing” (as opposed to starting with 1) a presumption of innocence and 2) then starting with investigating), those in the legal system who don’t accept allegations of spousal and child abuse without thinking are–perversely–branded as unenlightened and corrupt. This is why it’s so effective to make false allegations of spousal and child abuse.
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