Child custody battles can often get very heated. Negotiating things such as child support and visitation can be difficult. However, recently we’ve been seeing an increase in child custody cases involving parental alienation; when a parent undermines a child’s relationship with the other parent. Common examples of parent alienation include:
- A mother telling a child that the father has abandoned them.
- A father telling a child that mommy doesn’t want to spend time with them.
This can be very detrimental to a child’s psyche. Children who believe the manipulation done by their parents often develop something called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). A child with PAS usually will no longer want to spend any time with the parents that they’ve been tricked into rejecting. Not all children develop PAS, however, if your child is being manipulated into thinking things that aren’t true, it is important to have them evaluated by a psychologist. If you feel that your child is being distant, it is imperative to try to mend the relationship. You do not want to potentially lose custody of your child because they have been brain-washed by your soon to be ex-spouse.
While PAS is not acknowledged in DSM-IV as a true psychological condition, the courts do recognize that it exists. According to experts, there are three levels of child alienation; mild, moderate, and severe. A third-party from the court will perform child custody to determine the severity of the alienation. To repair the relationship, many children will have to undergo therapy. Some judges recommend removing the child from the alienating parent’s home while other judges are hesitant to remove a child from the home is the alienation is severe.
The key to obtaining custody in a child alienation case is to get the courts to move quickly and assign a child custody evaluation and psychologist to assess the situation before the alienation becomes too severe. Contact us today if you feel that your child is at risk of becoming alienated.