When two Arizona residents have a child, one parent is often granted primary physical custody while the other parent is granted visitation rights. In some cases, however, one parent may decide that they do not want the other parent to be involved in their child’s life; as such, they may attempt to alienate the child from the other parent.
Parental alienation syndrome, which was developed by a child psychologist in 1985, is a syndrome where a child alienates one of their parents without any sort of justification. In some cases, the custodial parent may brainwash their child against the other parent. The custodial parent may use a number of different techniques to influence their child into alienating the other parent, including forcing the child to take sides, keep the other parent from attending school functions or extracurricular activities and making false statements about the other parent to the child.
There are multiple symptoms that the child may exhibit, which can include a rejection of the other parent, signs of supporting one parent over the other and an absence of guilt regarding their other parent. If the syndrome goes untreated, the behaviors could potentially have severe consequences for the child later in life. For example, they may suffer from anxiety, feel guilt or have difficulty forming relationships with others.
Arizona courts have found that it is important that a child have a positive relationship with both parents. In some cases, they may remove the child from the care of the alienating parent. If a parent believes that their child’s other parent has attempted to alienate them, a family law attorney may help the parent seek sole legal custody. The attorney may provide evidence that the other parent is attempting to alienate the child and that allowing the child to establish a relationship with their client is ultimately in the child’s best interest.