Parental alienation issues in divorce cases
When a North Carolina judge deals with a contentious divorce situation involving issues such as one parent claiming that the other has abused their child, there can be challenges in assessing the validity of such a claim. In some cases, allegations of child abuse may be justified and accurate. In others, however, a parent may have brainwashed a child into believing that the other party is abusive, resulting in false accusations. Unfortunately, legitimate claims of parental abuse could backfire on the accusing parent and the child.
The issue of parental alienation has become quite controversial because of the potential for the rejection of legitimate abuse claims. In some cases, the accused parent can end up with full physical and legal custody because of a judge’s view that the other party has acted maliciously in an effort to poison a child’s view. In fact, an early study of the issue involved 240 cases of alleged parental alienation, and in 80 percent of these cases, the accusing parent lost custody.
When alienation is actually occurring, a loving parent and extended family members can be rejected as a child pulls away. A custodial parent whose false accusations have been believed could interfere with the child-parent relationship for years to come as the non-custodial parent faces limited contact and involvement in the life of their child. The outcome can vary from one courtroom to the next based on the views and methods of a given judge.
In a hypothetical scenario, a parent dealing with a situation involving an abusive spouse might seek legal advice prior to filing for divorce in order to develop a strategy for documenting issues such as child abuse. Proof of issues such as drug use or other negligent behavior might be helpful in supporting a request for full custody.