For any number of reasons, some parents make false domestic violence allegations against their children's other parent. Sometimes, it is in an effort to gain the upper hand in a divorce or custody battle. Sometimes, it can be a play for revenge. In a few situations, it can be a misguided endeavor to protect children. For example, parents might make a false allegation because they think the co-parent's new partner is a terribly bad influence on the children.
Regardless of the reasons behind a false accusation, the effect on children can be substantial in obvious and subtle ways alike.
Diminished time with one parent
When false allegations succeed, they often mean the children get less time with one parent. That in itself is a huge loss, particularly since the children would never have actually experienced domestic violence from that parent. The parent could even lose his or her job and face criminal charges. Parental alienation could result, and it is possible that the children would eventually come to believe the accusation that they knew had to be false.
Fortunately, false accusations do not always win in official circles, such as court. When a lawyer is able to prove through witnesses and other means that an allegation is untrue, it can still mean less time with one parent, only this time it is the parent who made the allegation who stands to lose out. Whether an accusation proves true or not, the children are genuine losers in the situation.
Lack of good models
Children do well when they see their parents as capable of working out problems in an adult, mature way, as part of a team. If what they see is their parents constantly resorting to allegations and legal fighting, they lose the chance to see a healthy model for working out conflicts. This can have profound effects on the rest of their lives, including in their own romantic relationships and their bonds with any future children. The same goes if they see one parent bow down and accept false criminal allegations without fighting them.