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How parental alienation can ruin your child custody prospects

Most divorcing spouses struggle to come to terms with the prospect of not seeing their kids every day. It's this thought that motivates them to do whatever it takes to get as much visitation or custody time with their kids as possible. Sometimes parents engage in parental alienation of their child in hopes that it will improve the chances of a Maryland family law judge ruling in their favor. Engaging in such activities can hurt their case in the long run, though.

The parental alienation concept was coined by a child psychiatrist in the 1980s to describe instances in which vengeful moms and dads fabricated stories about their son or daughter's other parent to paint them in a bad light. They often did this to sway a judge to rule in their favor in a custody case.

Recent reports published by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges highlight how parents who engage in parental alienation are often the abusers instead of their exes. Their research shows that moms and dads often engage in alienation to take the judge's focus off them as the person who's carrying out the abuse.

A recent George Washington University study funded by the U.S. Department of Justice captured how parental alienation affects custody cases' outcomes.

The researchers looked at nearly 4,400 custody cases. Mothers lost custody in 44% percent of cases in which the fathers accused them of parental alienation. At the same time, fathers who waged such accusations only lost custody to the mothers in 28% of the cases. Fathers are thus more likely to retain custody in instances in which they claim parental alienation compared to mothers who do.

The researchers also discovered that judges were equally likely to deprive moms and dads of custody in substantiated parental alienation cases.

Parents often ask their divorce attorneys what they can do to improve their chances of securing increased visitation rights or custody of their kids. While you should put your child's interests first and report any valid concerns about abuse, you shouldn't tell falsehoods or try to plant seeds of hate in your child's mind to try and sway the outcome in your Maryland custody case. A family law attorney here in Prince George's County can provide you with sound advice for winning custody that doesn't involve jeopardizing your chances.

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