What kind of charges can I file against someone who has defamed me repeatedly?

My husband's ex has been telling people that my husband and I have been abusing my step daughter. She filed 3 motions based on these false charges (1. To suspend my husband's visitation, 2. To terminate his parenting time and 3 was a protection order against me)

We've already had the first court date to address the visitation suspension. The judge tossed it out within ten minutes because she brought NO evidence and my husband brought a letter from CPS stating that nothing had happened. He also told her she was in contempt for not letting my husband have his daughter during the 2 weeks between when she filed and when the court date happened.

We're already filing contempt on her, but I'm FURIOUS about this protection order and the false charges. I've had to stay with friends or send my step daughter to her grandparents for the last few days while we waited for this court date! It's disrupted our entire family and it's insanity for her to be able to jerk us around like that. Can I file charges against her for harassment or defamation or something like that?

Update:

And something that won't hurt my husband's custody case because we're going for full custody now after she pulled her latest stunts.

7 Answers

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  • Josa
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Hi, If you have already filed for sole legal custody I suggest you just leave the other situations alone. The custody issue is much more important. If you two keep at each other the court may see the whole thing as a 'get even' If you just ignore it you will be in a much better position. She's only doing it because you filed. It IS frustrating and very childish and the courts will see it as such. You can appeal the restraining order. I don't know how she got it in the first place unless there was any physical threat or any physical harm done that would make her feel in fear of her physical safety or anything that constitutes harassment. Harassment is defined as any act, word or gesture that is repeated and intrusive and is intended to have a harmful affect on the safety, security, or privacy of another person. Didn't you have to go for a hearing on that order? She could and, it seems did, get a temporary order. She has to go back to court to get a permanent order. That is the time you can take proof that her allegations are false. JOSA

    Source(s): Many years in the social services field. Also, years in the Family Court system.
  • 1 decade ago

    You can't file any charges against the person for a couple of reasons:

    1. You don't file charges. The police can't file charges. The DA does this. You'd have to present enough evidence of a crime to them for them to consider pressing charges. You can't even file "Contempt" charges on her. Contempt of Court will be enforced by the judge, not you. You can ask him or her to enforce it, but you can't make them do it.

    2. This isn't a criminal case. It's a CIVIL case. Slander is not a crime. It's a civil tort. To prove slander, you basically have to show two things: (1) That the other person showed a reckless disregard for the truth, and (2) What they said caused you actual monetary damage. If you can show those things, you'll need to speak with an attorney about filing such a lawsuit.

    Source(s): Law Enforcement 3+ years
  • 1 decade ago

    Call your attorney. He can get her to show cause why she should not be found in contempt. He could recommend an attorney or what action to take to get back at her if that's what you want.

    I only think you should go the revenge/punishment route if she has a history of being crazy and unreasonable. You don't need to love this woman in any way, but you do need to figure out how to get along with her. Unless you think the best way to do that is with threats, suits, protective orders, legal stunts, cops, jail, and so on, you may want to stop those lines of thinking. Think about how you want this situation to be a year from now, not about how you were wronged and what she deserves for doing it. Maybe you do need to beat her up in court, maybe you should let her hang herself with her bs and ignore her, but my guess is that the answer is somewhere in the middle--you need to show her that you and your husband are tougher than her and won't put up with this, while at the same time not antagonizing her into even more stunts. Keep your stepdaughter's interests in mind and it may be easier to figure this out. Figure out what you need to do to make this better, not how to make the mother pay.

  • 1 decade ago

    Consult your lawyer, but in general you cannot sue for defamation over accusations made to law enforcement or CPS. This is because, as a matter of public policy, we want to *encourage* people to report their suspicions, without being afraid that they'll be sued if they are wrong.

    However, making a knowingly false accusation is a crime. While there may be no legal action *you* can take, the police could pass the file to the DA for him to charge her. Speak to your local police about filing a complaint, and press them to pass it on to the DA for prosecution. I would advise you to take your lawyer with you, as in "most" cases the cops will tell you "It's a civil matter, we can't get involved." This is NOT true - they say this because such matters get complicated, and the cops, as a general rule, don;t want to be bothered.

    Richard

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  • 1 decade ago

    I'd wait until you get full custody, and then take her to civil court. Just sue her for emotional distress, court fees, etc. You'll more than likely win that. In order to file for 'defamation' or libel or something along those lines, you'd have to prove that her comment had a measurable effect on your career... so I wouldn't go that route. However, you could probably bring charges towards her for a false police report. Just whatever you do, remain calm, and try to appear as the better person... at least until you get custody.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think the best advice you'll get on here would be to consult with an attorney. Seems to me, harassment would be a suitable label for her behavior at this point. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like she's done anything you could press charges against her for. Perhaps a no contact order is the best, maybe only option at this point.

  • 1 decade ago

    Unless you can prove that you have suffered significant financial harm due to her behavior you do not have grounds to sue on.

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