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Lying in family court can cost you both custody and jail time.

A woman from California is learning that lesson the hard way after she perjured herself in family court. She won't know her actual sentence until January 2018, but she faces a potential of four years in prison.

Lying in family court can cost you both custody and jail time.

A woman from California is learning that lesson the hard way after she perjured herself in family court. She won't know her actual sentence until January 2018, but she faces a potential of four years in prison.

The mother was trying to defend against a custody petition from her child's father. He had requested full physical and legal custody of their daughter, for the daughter's safety.

The father alleged, in essence, that the mother and her live-in boyfriend both had drinking problems. Their drinking led to frequent altercations between them -- including one where the boyfriend dragged the mother outside of her own home and then locked her out. She had to run to a neighbor for help.

That neighbor turned out to be a police officer. As required, he reported the domestic violence incident, creating a record of the event for the court.

At some point, the mother also filed a declaration with the courts attesting to the domestic violence she'd experienced at the hands of her boyfriend.

However, when it came time for the custody hearing in family court, the mother and her boyfriend adamantly denied that any violence had ever taken place -- despite the considerable trail of evidence that said otherwise.

The mother even tried to insist that her own attorney -- for an unknown reason -- had written the declaration about the violence himself and then forged her signature.

It wasn't until presented with evidence of her own prior testimony in another court that the mother finally admitted that the declaration wasn't faked.

Perjury is not considered an insignificant criminal act -- it subverts the entire judicial system. However, perhaps because the stakes are so high in custody cases, people manage to justify their decisions to lie in family court.

That often backfires on them. While not every prosecutor is as aggressive about prosecuting perjury cases as the one in this particular part of California, judges take a dim view of lying. If they can't trust the parent to be truthful, why should they risk the safety of a child with that parent?

Regardless of your situation, lying in order to win a custody battle is likely to compound your troubles. The truth, however, may make the judge inclined to work with you -- and keep you out of jail.

Source: Lake County News, "Woman enters plea in perjury case," Dec. 09, 2017

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