The prevalence of perjury in family court—leveling false accusations of domestic violence and child abuse are essentially accepted, standard litigating strategies, frequently advised by attorneys, therapists, and other counselors—may be reduced by punishing it, but doing so is unlikely to eliminate it as long as false allegations continue to be an efficacious means toward certain custody goals. Some parents who stand to receive sole custody, if conflict is proven by false accusations and joint custody thereby precluded, will take the punishment and see perjury as still offering the better deal. Perjury would be more effectively and easily eradicated by changes in the way custody determinations are made, fashioned to remove the strong incentive toward it, than by instituting penalties.

William L Spence

Santa Cruz, CA