Understanding the Impact of Parental Alienation on a Custody Decision – Divorce

February 15, 2023


Family Law Attorneys

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Family court proceedings can be challenging and often fall back to the parent who was more involved and more beneficial to the child’s life. A parent’s custody is not a guarantee, and a court decision could be changed if one parent’s behavior has affected the child’s relationship with the other, this is known as ‘parental alienation’.

Short Summary

  1. Parental alienation is an issue that is considered when a court decides a custody case.
  2. It refers to a parent who has interfered in their child’s relationship with their other parent.
  3. Signs of parental alienation can include a lack of communication, a lack of respect, and generally hostile behavior.

Parental alienation can significantly affect the outcome of a custody battle and a child’s overall well-being. Therefore, it is important to be familiar with the concept and its full implications when facing a custody battle.

What is parental alienation?

Simply put, parental alienation (or parental alienation as it is sometimes referred to) refers to behavior by a parent that interferes with the relationship between their child and the other parent. While it is common for a child to naturally feel some level of anger toward one of their parents, parental alienation refers to extreme cases where the child has been manipulated or coerced to be toward one of their parents in an overly negative and hostile manner see, usually without good cause.

Not only does this damage the relationship between the child and the target parent, but it can also cause long-term emotional distress for the child.

Signs of Alienation Parental

Parental alienation can often be difficult to spot and quantify, but there are some key indicators parents can look for. If a child’s parent used any of these tactics on purpose, parental alienation could be a problem:

  • Consistent negative comments about the other parent
  • Lack of respect or communication with the other parent when present
  • Refusing to spend quality time with the other parent
  • Make legal attempts to influence the judge’s decision

It should be noted that these are not clear signs of parental alienation and should not be viewed solely as a checklist. The best way to identify this behavior is to look for specific patterns of hostility that indicate an attempt to interfere with the parent-child relationship.

Effects of parental alienation in the courtroom

When it comes to custody of children, a court will usually consider what is in the child’s best interests. If a parent is found to have been involved in the parental alienation, this will likely have a major impact on the court’s decision. The parent who engages in such behavior may be deemed unfit to bestow custody of their child.

A judge can take different approaches to dealing with the issue of parental alienation. A common approach is for the judge to order a “parenting plan,” which requires both parents to work together to create a plan for the child’s future. This plan includes the time the child will be with both parents and any other matters affecting the parents and the child. This plan can be overseen by the court and can help the affected parent rebuild the relationship with their child.

In other cases, a judge may also order therapy sessions with a psychiatrist to help the child navigate the emotional turmoil of parental alienation. This can often be the most effective way to help a child deal with their feelings.


Ultimately, parental alienation can have a significant impact on a custody case. It’s important for both parents to be aware of the potential impact of their behavior to reduce the likelihood of it becoming an issue in the courtroom.

If a parent is found guilty of such behavior, they can expect to lose custody of their child, or at least have a parenting plan implemented. It is therefore important that all parents act mindfully and always put the well-being of their child first.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the topic. In relation to your specific circumstances, you should seek advice from a specialist.

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