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Parental alienation can come into play during child custody cases

When an accusation of child abuse is brought into a child custody case, the family court that is hearing the matter is tasked with determining the validity of those claims. This can be a difficult matter, as not all forms of child abuse are easily documented or proven. In many, many different situations, abuse allegations never result in criminal charges, and no one but the accused and the alleged victim really know what did and did not happen. When Florida one parent makes a claim of abuse and the other denies that claim, the outcome is sometimes a finding that the parent making the allegations has acted to intentionally alienate the child from his or her parent, which can lead to a loss of child custody rights.

The entire concept of parental alienation has led to a great deal of controversy across the nation, especially in light of several high profile cases that have received national media attention. Many people believe that when a parent raises a concern about abuse, the court will assume that he or she has done so in order to improve his or her position in court. If the court does not find that the accusations are based in fact, the parent who is claiming abuse can actually lose custody of his or her children. If abuse truly was taking place, such a move will place the children directly into the hands of their abuser.

On the other hand, there certainly are situations in which parents will falsify claims of abuse in order to try and gain the upper hand in a custody case. This is why judges must approach these claims very carefully. Removing a parent's custody rights based on an accusation of abuse could lead to a perfectly fit and loving parent having limited or no access to his or her children.

The idea of parental alienation is coming into play in more cases, both in Florida and across the nation. These child custody matters pose a challenge to the courts, as the safety and security of children is and always should be the top priority. For parents who are on either side of an accusation of child abuse, retaining counsel is imperative, as an aggressive legal response is required no matter if one is the accuser or the accused.

Source: ABC News, "Are Some Divorcing Parents Brainwashing Their Children? The Controversial Idea of Parental Alienation", Lauren Pearle, April 8, 2016

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