Thompson Family Law, P.A.
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Regaining custody by using the parental alienation defense

A new trend is emerging when it comes to how non-custodial parents are going about petitioning for custody of their children. One parent may initially agree to allow the other to retain sole custody of the child, only to use what seemed to be a voluntary relinquishment against the custodial parent to later deprive him or her of his or her rights.

The increasingly popular child custody strategy is commonly known as parental alienation syndrome. A parent wishing to gain custody of his or her children will often initially seem to be willing to give up custody. Some time later, they will file a petition in court citing the other parent's attempts to turn their child against them.

This is becoming a particularly preferred choice of husbands and wives who have accused the other of abuse. In this case, the abuser will use this approach to show that his or her ex is mentally unstable. He or she will claim that this instability leads him or her to manipulate or indoctrinate his or her kids to believe untruths about the other parent.

Researchers that have begun looking into this growing trend have begun looking more closely at cases in which a parent's custodial rights were terminated based on abuse allegations waged against him or her. They have found that, in at least 72 percent of those cases, the noncustodial parent was able to win back his or her kids by claiming parental alienation.

Among those cases in which the noncustodial parent was successful in regaining custody of his or her children, 69 percent of all instances involved previous accusations of child abuse. In at least 81 percent of all cases, the parent who regained custody of his or her children was alleged to have engaged in child sexual abuse.

We live in an era in which courts have become increasingly standoffish when it comes to getting involved in custody decisions. They tend to like to see parents work out a plan between themselves.

Being impartial and lacking intimate knowledge of a case when it comes to child custody matters can result in decisions being made that are not in the best interest of a couple's children. If you've been accused of parental alienation and you fear losing your kids as a result, then you may benefit from the guidance of a Fort Myers child custody attorney.

Source: Huffington Post, "How Parental Alienation Syndrome is changing custody cases across the U.S.," Marisa Endicott, accessed Aug. 11, 2017

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