no need to leave your home to receive legal consultations and services - Call or click to learn more about phone and videoconferencing with our attorneys

False Allegations of Child Abuse in Illinois Child Custody Cases

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
October 28, 2019

In this article, we explain what happens if one parent makes false allegations of child abuse against the other parent in an Illinois child custody case.  For a broader discussion of how Illinois courts determine parenting time and responsibility, check out our article: Illinois Parenting Laws 2019.

In order to determine how to allocate parenting time and responsibility, Illinois courts weigh several factors in order to determine the best interest of the child on a case-by-case basis. Certainly, if one parent is found to have physically, emotionally or sexually abused the child in question, any other child, the other parent, or any other person, this will significantly impact the court’s decision as to parenting time.  Although recent studies have found that the majority of abuse allegations in custody cases tend to be founded in fact, occasionally one of the parents will fabricate false child abuse allegations in order to sway the court’s decision with respect to parenting time.  

If allegations of child abuse are found by the court to be false and made without reasonable cause, the court may penalize the parent who made the false allegation in the following ways:

Change in Custody Based on False Allegations of Abuse

The court may find that a parent who is willing to lie about abuse does not have the best interests of the child at heart.  The court may find that in fact, it is not in the best interest of the child to remain with this parent.  This may cause the court to award more parenting time and responsibility to the parent who was falsely accused.  The court may even change a previous custody order that had already been entered.  

Sanctions for False Allegations of Abuse  

In addition, the court will likely cause the parent that made the false allegations to pay sanctions to the other parent.  This means that the parent who is sanctioned will be liable for the reasonable expenses incurred by the other parent as a result of the false allegations, including the accused parent’s attorney fees.

Criminal Charges for False Allegations of Abuse

Finally, the domestic relations court may refer the case to the Illinois State’s Attorney in order to determine whether to prosecute the parent who made the false allegations for perjury.  While civil sanctions require that the sanctioned parent be proven to have lied by a “preponderance of the evidence” standard, meaning “more likely than not,” perjury allegations require the higher criminal standard of proof: “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  

Impact of False Allegations of Abuse

False allegations of abuse are not only harmful to the accused parent’s reputation, but also to the wellbeing of the child.  By creating additional cases ancillary to the custody case for sanctions or perjury, false allegations also can make the custody case significantly more expensive, contentious and time consuming.  

However it is important to note that if you suspect actual abuse is occurring, these penalties should not be a deterrent to you reporting it to the court.  In order for these penalties to apply, it must not only be shown that the alleged abuse did not occur, but that the accusing parent intentionally and willfully lied regarding the allegation.  Allegations founded in a reasonable belief that abuse occurred do not lead to these penalties, even if the court does not ultimately find that abuse occurred.

Additional Financial Considerations
from Financial Experts

From Financial Experts

For many years, financial institutions have been creating a disservice to clients and the industry as a whole for years.
View More Professional Considerations

Presented By O'Flaherty Law

Change in Custody Based on False Allegations of Abuse

Need Legal Help? 

Schedule a

What to Expect From a Consultation

The purpose of a free consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. Although most consultations are complimentary, some may carry a charge depending on the type of matter and meeting location.

Leave a Comment With Your Questions

Read more about

Family Law & Divorce

We offer free, paid & Online CONSULTATION in:

Family Law & Divorce

Schedule a consultation with our Illinois & Iowa Attorneys

We offer free, paid & online consultation in nearly every area of law throughout Illinois and Iowa. We have a range of options to assist you with your legal needs.

What happens at a legal consultation?
Meet with an attorney for a free consultation to discuss what type of matter you need to discuss with an attorney.
Over the Phone Legal Consultations
Similar to In-person consultations, you discuss your legal needs with our attorneys to discuss your matter.
An online consultation is like an in-person and an over the phone online Consultation. You meet face to face with our attorneys through our online portal.
Paid Legal Consultations
While a free consultation allows us to discuss what we can do in general terms for your legal matter, a paid consultation allows us to answer direct questions.

More Criminal Law Episodes

contact us

Monday to Friday
9am - 5pm

Contact Us
Disclaimer: Our articles and comment responses do not constitute legal advice and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

Please contact us to schedule a free consultation for legal advice specific to your situation.

Here are some articles that may interest you
Schedule a

Contact us for a Free Consultation

Schedule a free consultation

O'Flaherty Law is happy to meet with you by phone or at our office locations in:

Who We Are
We are your community law firm. Our Illinois & Iowa Attorneys are committed to providing exceptional client service in a cost-effective manner in the areas of Family Law, Probate, Estate Planning, Civil Litigation, Guardianship, Criminal Defense, Corporate & Contract Law, Bankruptcy and Real Estate.

Some of Our Accomplishments

Best Child Support Lawyers in Chicago
DuPage County Probate Attorney
Kevin P. O'Flaherty
Rated by Super Lawyers

loading ...
Naperville attorney
DuPage County Probate Attorney

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required