Kennedy Law Associates

Courts struggle to define parental alienation

After a divorce in North Carolina, it is not uncommon for child custody cases to be contentious. One of the most common allegations a parent may levy against the other is that he or she was abusive. The abuse may either be inflicted on the person making the claim or on the children. In return, the parent who is facing abuse allegations may claim the accuser of parental alienation.

Parental alienation occurs when one parent takes steps to make the other look bad in the eyes of the child. In many cases, judges are swayed by arguments that parents are victims of alienation tactics. However, those who study the issue say that allegations of abuse should not be ignored. If anything, they should be assessed first to see if there is any validity to them. In the event that the allegations are borne out, parental alienation should not be considered a valid reason for being abusive.

In almost all cases, parental alienation can be just as bad for a child as being physically abused by the parent. This is because being kept from a parent can be considered a form of emotional abuse. It can be difficult for courts to determine when legitimate claims are being made as there are many ways in which alienation could occur.

In a child custody dispute, a court may listen to any allegations a parent makes. This is because any ruling made in the matter must preserve the best interests of the child. In some cases, this may mean that a parent with a history of emotional or physical abuse could be granted visitation or other rights. An attorney may help a parent resolve a custody matter in a favorable manner using state law and the facts of the case.

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