Skip to Content
Hildebrand Law, P.C. mobile logo

Parental Alienation in Child Custody Cases

Sole Legal Custody Over Medical Decisions in Arizona.

The Impact of Parental Alienation in an Arizona Child Custody Case

In Arizona, parental alienation is a recognized problem in child custody cases. Parental alienation occurs when one parent poisons the minor child’s relationship with the other parent through manipulative, deceitful and/or malicious behavior meant to undermine the relationship between the other parent and the child.

In a normal situation, one would expect a parent to know it is highly important for both parents to work together as much as possible to ensure an amicable outcome for their children. They may also expect the lawyers for both parties to work out a reasonable custody agreement that works best for all involved with the goal of preserving each parent-child relationship.

Unfortunately, a parent who is alienating the child from the other parent makes it unlikely the parents will work together to reach a reasonable agreement regarding how much time each parent will spend with their child.

U.S. News and World Report Votes Hildebrand Law, PC Best Law Firms for 2020 2021 2022 2023

Types of Parental Alienation in Arizona

When one party refuses to cooperate or attempts to make it difficult or impossible for the other parent to have access to their child or children, this can have a direct impact on any custody arrangement decided by a court of law.

Parental alienation can take many forms such as:

  • Disparaging comments about the other parent;
  • Lying or exaggerating facts about the other parent;
  • Using information about the other parent to gain the child’s sympathy;
  • Influence or manipulating a child’s opinion of the other parent;
  • Discouraging discussions between a child and their other parent;
  • Restricting visitation rights without just cause;

All of these tactics can be used by either party in a divorce case which makes detecting true parental alienation difficult but not impossible.

Factors the Court Will Consider in a Parental Alienation Case

The court will look at several factors surrounding parental alienation including:

  • How long it has been happening;
  • What tactics are being used;
  • Whether there is evidence proving malicious intent on behalf of one particular party;
  • The level of communication between parents regarding any changes or decisions regarding their children before they go to court;
  • And whether there is evidence that proves sincere effort from both sides to maintain a healthy mother-father/daughter-son relationship regardless of marital status.

If after examining all of these factors present in your case there is still evidence of parental alienation then you may be able file a motion asking for sole legal custody so that you can protect your children from any further emotional abuse from either party involved in the situation.

If awarded legal sole custody, it may be wise—in some cases—to try psychological evaluations and temporary parenting plan adjustments until critical changes are made by both parties in order for them to equally share responsibilities over their kids moving forward in a respectful way.

Impact of Parental Alienation on Children

Third Party Visitation With a Child in Arizona.

It’s important for parents going through divorces or separations involving children understand that parental alienation exists and what steps must be taken in order protect kids from this kind of emotional abuse.

Parental alienation is a damaging form of psychological abuse that occurs when one parent uses intentional tactics aimed at disrupting the relationship between their child and the other parent.

It is a pattern of behavior used by one parent to manipulate, isolate, or control the narrative told by their kids about the other parent during and after the divorce process.

Parental alienation can be subtle yet disturbingly effective in manipulating not only children’s current relationships with each parent but also their emotions and thought patterns for years to come.

The long-term effects of parental alienation are often devastating on a child’s emotional development. This kind of prolonged psychological abuse can have serious repercussions in terms of cognitive development, social skills, self-esteem, and even physical health.

Children exposed to parental alienation are much more likely to suffer from feelings of anxiety and depression as well as exhibit signs of behavioral issues like aggression or lack of impulse control.

They may grow up feeling insecure, possessive towards their parents, guilty for having any positive thoughts about the targeted parent, or simply incapable of developing loving relationships with either parent due to fear that it will cause conflict or further manipulation from either side.

Studies have found that parental alienation can also lead to the formation of false memories among children who had been exposed to this kind of abuse; these memories are created because they are so desperate for an answer as to why one parent actively seeks to separate them from the other that they make up stories in order to fill in gaps in knowledge or understanding.

It has been theorized that this memory manipulation plays a role in long-term outcomes like PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) among adult survivors who experienced alienation as children.

For some adults, memories surrounding parental alienation remain vivid enough over time to cause difficulty forming meaningful relationships.

It is clear then that regardless if it lasts months or years, parental alienation has no place in a healthy family dynamic and should be addressed immediately through court proceedings or mediation if necessary.

is often difficult for courts—or those connected directly with the parties involved—to determine active attempts at alienating behavior since all parties tend to use different tactics which may be nuanced depending on individual situations.

However, there are certain red flags you can look out for when trying to identify potential cases such as:

  • False accusations against either party;
  • Disparaging commentary from one party about their former partner;
  • Contradictory statements made by either side regarding attorneys fees/procedures;
  • Prolonged court battles initiated by either party seemly resistant towards compromise;
  • Repeated delays directed at taking care of any children’s varying needs etc.

Ultimately there is no excuse for any type of behavior aimed at disrupting a child’s relationship with either parent and all people involved must take responsibility for making sure these kinds of situations never occur again moving forward.

Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC

If you believe you have been wrongfully denied access to your child due to manipulation done by your former spouse or partner then please contact one of our experienced family law attorneys who are available to assist you.

Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.

Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your child custody or family law case around today.

Scottsdale Arizona Divorce, Family Law, and Estate Planning