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Can parental alienation affect child custody?

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2023 | Family Law |

When you decided to divorce your spouse, you may have never wanted to see or speak with them again. Because the two of you share children, cutting your ex-spouse out of your life is not entirely possible. After all, for the benefit of your children, you must make co-parenting work.

Even though most co-parents make a good-faith effort, too many others actively try to undercut the other parent. According to Psychology Today, parental alienation is a form of emotional child abuse that happens when one parent turns the children against the other.

How to recognize parental alienation

Parental alienation can be difficult to identify, as it can come in many different forms. Moreover, it usually does not stem from a single or isolated incident. However, if your ex-spouse regularly engages in one or more of the following behaviors, you may be experiencing parental alienation:

  • Speaks poorly of you
  • Tells your children you are dangerous or untrustworthy
  • Talks to your kids about your parenting abilities or custody case
  • Refuses to allow you to communicate with your children
  • Excludes you from typical parent-child activities

The custody-related consequences of parental alienation

As you probably know, parental alienation can destroy or impact the close relationship you have with your children. It also can cause them to suffer long-term psychological damage and mentally affect them well into adulthood. From a child custody perspective, though, parental alienation might be a reason to seek a modification of your current co-parenting arrangement.

In New York, custody plans must cater to the best interests of the involved children. Ultimately, because parental alienation simply cannot be in any child’s best interests, a court might rework your custody order to protect your kids from ongoing psychological and emotional harm.