Many parents in Arizona who are going through a contested custody battle are shocked when a judge awards custody of their children to the other parent. One common reason this occurs in divorce and child custody cases is parental alienation.
The term refers to one parent turning children against the other by making inappropriate comments to children and false accusations against the other parent. This type of behavior is considered harmful to children’s wellbeing.
A research study funded by the Department of Justice examined what happened in child custody cases where parental alienation was alleged. Researchers found that fathers who alleged parental alienation against mothers were much more likely to succeed in winning custody than when the roles were reversed.
Researchers also found that parents who claimed alienation were likely to win custody of their children even when there were true findings of abuse. In cases involving accusations of sexual abuse against children as well as parental alienation, courts found the abuse allegations to be true in only one out of 51 cases.
One possible conclusion regarding the research is that allegations of abuse prevent courts from considering shared parenting as a possibility. When a parent counterclaims parental alienation, the parent is alleging that he or she would be capable of shared parenting but the other will not cooperate.
Parents who have questions about how to obtain sole legal custody or seek visitation with their minor children should consult a family law attorney. A divorce or custody lawyer will be familiar with concepts like parental alienation and how it can be proven in court.
Custody cases are heavily based on evidence. A skilled attorney may be able to help clients win custody by presenting convincing evidence and making arguments that will appeal to family court judges. Parents who have been accused of abuse might be able to refute the claims with the help of their attorney.