My husband of 25 years has recently left me for another woman. He admits, to me, that he committed adultery with this woman and wants to marry her. OK, I'll have to work through that. The problem is that he has told all of our extended family, none of whom live in this state, that I was the one who committed adultery and that is why he's divorcing me. None of them know of this other woman's existence.
Our entire families are all members of the churches of Christ, and now I'm being accused or blamed for something I didn't do. My father-in-law, who is a church elder, informed me that I will never be able to remarry due to my "sin." If the sin was min, I'd agree with that, but this sin belongs to his son. None of his family or mine will talk to me anymore as I'm to be withdrawn from due to sin.
How can I clear my name? My soon to be ex-husband will never come clean with his family. I tried to point this out to him in one of our mediation sessions and he just laughed and said it was not his problem.
False accusations are always difficult to defend against because the more you protest the more others are certain that you are only saying it to protect yourself. That is why you see Jesus not answering his accusers during the mock trials.
The sad thing is that your ex-husband is both an adulterer and a liar. He won't get away with it in the long run, sinners never do. And sadder is that there is no real way to defend yourself when someone doesn't want to listen.
What the extended family thinks at the moment isn't critical. I can see motivations on his side of the family to want to believe him. His father has additional motivation because in many churches an elder who has a wayward son will be asked to step down. Even when a person wants to be fair-minded, it becomes extra-difficult when one answer is going to put yourself into a difficult situation.
More important at the moment is the local congregation that you attend. You only briefly mentioned that you are being withdrawn from. I assume that means the local congregation believes your husband over you, which I can't figure out why from the little you've told me.
There are a few things you can do at the moment. Since you know there is another woman involved, then tell both the leadership at your congregation and those in your family who would like to actually listen the name of the woman. At least then when he marries her within the year they will remember. Another option is to hire a private detective to gather some evidence that he is seeing this other woman. It is expensive, but at least it gives objective evidence for people to consider. Also ask your lawyer if there is a way to get a statement that you believe your husband committed adultery into the divorce papers. It won't be solid evidence, but some people are more likely to consider something that is written down.
But if remains your word against his, then all you can do is state the facts when asked and go on about your business. If your local congregation won't consider your side, then it is time to find another congregation. Let the leadership in the new congregation know your story up front because you want to know if they will accept you despite your ex-husband's attempts at smearing your reputation.
Since you are clear that the divorce is because your husband has committed adultery, then you do have the right to remarry if you so choose. Again, you will have to decide to do what you know God allows without the support of your family. I would hope they ask, and when they do, ask them why they think you had committed adultery. Hopefully they will begin to see that they were listening to only one side of the story and making judgments on only half the evidence.
Regardless of how this plays out, remember that your ex-husband can't fool God. God knows exactly what happened and why. Your ex-husband and all who accepted his lies will have to one day answer the one truly impartial Judge. But in the meantime you keep following the path of righteousness.