Contact Our Firm for a Consultation

TV appearances

news article

What about parental alienation in New York child custody cases?

There are several claims in New York of parental alienation that are reported each year. Many courts will suggest that the child in the relationship be emancipated if the relationship between both parents cannot be repaired. The age of the child is often considered in situations like this because younger children are typically unable to live on their own and make their own decisions. If the child is of an age to be emancipated, then child support will cease. If the child is not of this age, then child support payments will often be suspended until visitation is resumed with the parent who does not have custody.

There are actions that could be considered alienation and that need to be examined before they are ruled as such. Any actions that could be considered alienation would need to be justified by the court. If one parent keeps the child from another parent because there is a fear or proof that harm could come to the child, then this would be a justified reason for alienation. The court will usually determine what is considered alienation based on the facts that are presented. Testimony from the parents as well as other adults who are involved in the situation is often taken into account to determine if alienation has occurred. If the allegations against one parent are made without any kind of basis, then the court can sometimes find that the accuser is trying to put their own wants and desires ahead of the child.

Before thinking about the consequences and the issues that can arise from parental alienation, it’s important to understand just what this issue is in the eyes of the court system. This is considered behavior that is intended or done without conscious thought by one parent of the child to keep the other parent away from the child. The parent could physically keep the child away from the other parent or talk about the other parent in a way that makes the child not want to associate with that parent. At times, there are issues that would require alienating a child from one parent, such as a safety issue where the child could be put in danger if left alone with the other parent. However, parent alienation often occurs when one parent is angry with the other and doesn’t want the child to see the other party. When one parent interferes with the visitation schedule or one parent doesn’t return the child after the visitation period is over, then it’s a form of alienation, which is among the most common forms.

Alienation could be a simple move of keeping the child from the other parent, or it could be something significant such as hiding from the other parent so that the address and location are not known. Telephone numbers could be changed, or the parent might refuse to answer phone calls. The parent could also keep the child from contacting the other parent by phone. Sometimes, one parent might not take the child to the appointed visitation location whether the visitation is ordered by the court or not. Some parents don’t want to encourage a positive relationship with each other, which is a form of alienation. There are many other examples, but the main idea of alienation is that one parent keeps the child away from the other parent on a regular basis so that the child is not able to form a relationship with both parents in a healthy manner. If the child is of an age to make educated decisions, then the child can often make a decision as to whether contact with one parent or the other or both is wanted.

The court will look at the best interests of the child when making a decision as to whether alienation has occurred. The best interests are usually for the child to maintain a relationship with both parents. Sometimes that means that the parents don’t live together. However, children should have the opportunity to know both parents. Some specialists believe that there could be behavioral characteristics that develop when a child does not have a relationship with both parents or when the child is kept away from one parent. There are damages awarded to one parent if alienation occurs. One parent might be ordered to pay the attorney fees. The court might find that the child should not live with the alienating parent and order joint custody or visitation with the alienating parent instead of sole custody. However, this change is often examined thoroughly because the child’s interests are considered over all else in this kind of situation.