What factors are key for proving parental alienation, and do the courts recognize parental alienation as a a cause to switch custody?
Parental alienation generally means that the minor child or children have a general and unjustified dislike for one parent over the other, and as a result, it becomes difficult for the children to have a sustaining relationship with that parent.
I know in the state of Tennessee that parental alienation is not a factor in determining a custody switch in divorce cases. However, in a lot of states, the factors that a court uses in determining an award of custody to one parent over the other are what is in the best interest of the child.
The factors in determining what is in the child’s best interest generally include each parent’s past and potential for future performance of parenting responsibilities including the willingness and ability of each of the parents to facilitate and encourage a close, continuing parent-child relationship between the child and both of the child’s parents.
Therefore, if you can show proof to the judge in your divorce proceeding that the other parent has repeatedly refused reasonable visitation with you and the child, and your spouse has made derogatory remarks about you to the child or in front of the child, then that would be beneficial in proving that your spouse is unwilling to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between you and the child.
In answering your second question about the court system, my advice would be to contact a domestic litigation attorney in your state to find out the specific rules regarding a change in custody.
I do know that in the State of Tennessee and in other various states that in order to prove a change in custody, you have to prove that there is a material change in circumstances from the custody arrangement originally ordered by the Court.
The factors in determining whether there is a material change in circumstances warranting a modification of custody include showing significant changes in the needs of the child over time, such as changes relating to age, parent’s living and working condition that significantly affect their parenting time, the failure to follow the current parenting schedule and any factors that materially affect what’s in the child’s best interest.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce and custody tips for men, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.
Mat Camp is a former Lexicon Services Online Editor, who focused on providing a comprehensive look into all aspects of the divorce experience. On MensDivorce.com, he concentrated on issues, such as parenting time, custodial rights, mediation, the division of assets, and so much more.
Mr. Camp used the wealth of experience of Cordell & Cordell attorneys to bring tangible answers to reader questions in Ask a Lawyer articles, as well as offer a step by step process through the divorce experience with Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph E. Cordell in Divorce 101: A Guide for Men.
Mr. Camp used thorough research to highlight the challenging reality that those who go through divorce or child custody issues face. He helped foster the continued success of the Men’s Divorce Survival Guide, the Men’s Divorce Podcast, and the Men’s Divorce YouTube series “Attorney Bites.”