Some couples get lucky and find that they can co-parent amicably when their marriage comes to an end. This arrangement can minimize stress on both parents and kids.
Other parents struggle with their break-up and use their kids to gain leverage on custody or support. Situations such as these can place your child in a vulnerable position of feeling like they have to choose between their parents. A parent who capitalizes on this may engage in what’s called parental alienation. It could cause them to lose custody if they do.
What is parental alienation?
Parental alienation entails one parent indoctrinating or manipulating their child to turn against their co-parent. A parent may make unfounded accusations of abuse or domestic violence against their co-parent. A parent may do this in the hope that such allegations change both their child’s perspective about their co-parent. They may also make such unfounded allegations to try to get the presiding judge to remove custody from the allegedly abusive parent.
One difference between family law and criminal cases is that neither party in the former is entitled to a right to an attorney. There’s no obligation for your co-parent to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, either.
The court has significant latitude in deciding a family law case. Whether they choose to take parental alienation allegations at face value comes down to who the judge believes was the most convincing. This creates a fear of reprisal since a parent may think they will be penalized by bringing up alleged abuse against their former spouse or partner in court.
If you’re facing parental alienation accusations, then you need to know your rights. Since there is no guarantee of how a court will rule in a particular case, it can often be a game of chance. It’s wise to discuss strategies with your attorney before your court hearing on a parental alienation matter.