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xavierjd, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Over 20 yrs experience in prosecution and defense work
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My daughter has been divorced for three years and she has custody

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My daughter has been divorced for three years and she has custody of her two daughters, aged 10 and 7. She has been in a rather serious relationship with a man for almost two years and talk of his possibly moving in with her have come up. He states that he is reticent to take that step because he is afraid of my daughter's ex-husband and what he may do once he learns that another man is living in the same home as his two girls. The ex-husband has acted very vindictively in the past, lied on numerous occasions under oath during court hearings on child support issues and has often used the girls as pawns in the divorce. The biggest concern is that the ex-husband may make false, groundless and malicious claims of sexual abuse against my daughter's boyfriend. If this does happen, what legal recourse is available? We are in Florida. Also, what do you recommend we might do to prepare ahead of time so we can be ready if and when this happens?
Thanks for using It will be my pleasure to assist you today.

I'm sorry for the stress that this situation has put on you, your daughter and mostly, the children. Children always end up being the biggest losers in any divorce. But when one parent is so vindictive, the children are put in the middle. It is so sad.

Do you know if your daughter's divorce judgment prohibits your daughter from living with someone who is not married?

I understand that your ex son in law is vindictive, but what makes you think that he will make allegations of sexual abuse of the girls?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for your reply.


I don't think there is any such prohibition in the divorce agreement.


Why do I think he will make those kinds of allegations? Because that's the kind of person he is. Very controlling and very vindictive. I'm not a psychologist but I believe he is a sociopath. He once dragged me into court (I'm the ex-father-in-law) to try to get an order of protection filed against me simply because he didn't like my walking my dogs in front of his house. I defended myself successfully against the charges and the judge did not grant the injunction.


We have learned over the years to try to anticipate what horrible thing the ex-husband will do to interfere with our lives. That's why I wrote this question.

Hi Michael,

I am SO sorry for the delay in responding to you. I was finishing assisting another customer. I want to look up a few things and I will be back with you asap with an answer.

Thanks for your patience.
Hi Michael,

Making false allegations of child sexual abuse is VERY serious. In fact, if your daughter's ex files a police report that alleges that your daughter's boyfriend has sexually abused one or both of your granddaughters, he can be prosecuted for filing a false police report.

Also, if such allegations were made, there are expert child interviewers who would speak to your grandchildren in a child friendly environment. There are very strict guidelines that the expert interviewers must follow. The children would be asked VERY open ended questions about what goes on in their home, if they like your daughter's boyfriend, and if not, why not, etc. Children will usually open up to the interviewer if something DID happen to them. If the children indicate that nothing happened, then the interviewer will report that information to the police. At that point, the police may close any potential case.

Also, if the allegations are severe, the children may have to be examined by a pediatrician who knows how to do sexual abuse exams on children. If the children had to be examined, the physician would report whether or not there was any physical evidence of abuse.

Your daughter's ex may also try to modify or change custody of the children. However, child custody order will not be modified in Florida unless a parent or a third party can show a substantial, material, or unanticipated change in circumstances. The modification must serve the child's best interests.

If your daughter's ex were to make such allegations and ask for a change of custody and the allegations are proven to be false, your daughter may be able to recover any reasonable attorney fees for having to defend against such false allegations. Moreover, the court will be less likely to EVER believe your daughter's ex if he were to bring any other motions to modify or change custody.

There is really nothing that you can do to prepare against your ex son in law making allegations of sexual abuse. However, if your daughter has been seeing her boyfriend for a long time and nothing has happened with the children or her ex hasn't made any allegations yet, it's important that she and/or the children don't give the father any reason to make such unfounded complaints. More on this later in the answer.

Your ex son in law may not like your daughter moving on with another man. And, sometimes, the courts still don't like relationships where the parties aren't married. If your ex son in law tries to modify/change custody because the boyfriend is living in the household without being married, your daughter can always indicate that she is engaged to be married. Sometimes, that helps. But, more and more, people are living together without being married.

You and your daughter MUST be VERY careful to not share your concerns about possible sexual abuse allegations by their father. If you do, it may get back to their father and give him an idea! So, be VERY CAREFUL not to discuss your concerns in the children's' presence.

Your daughter should just keep being a good mother. That's the best defense against any unfounded allegations. I'm sure that she protects her children and has taught them that if ANYONE (including her boyfriend) touches them in a way that makes them uncomfortable, they should tell her.

I hope you find this information useful.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. If you are satisfied with my answer, please rate it as "excellent" or in another positive manner. That is the only way that I can get credit for answering the question.

Thank you for your business!


xavierjd and 4 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you SO much for responding so thoroughly and quickly. I will send your answer to my daughter so she can show it to her boyfriend.

Hi Michael,

Best wishes to you and your family.

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