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What is Parental Alienation and How Does it Influence a Custody Award?

Even though a custody award is initially for joint custody arrangements, parental alienation is a circumstance that can lead to custody modification. If parental alienation becomes an issue, a Virginia Beach child custody modifications attorney can help you protect your rights and do what is in the best interests of the children.

Parental alienation refers to one parent's manipulation of a child to turn the child against or away from the other parent. Under Virginia statute § 20-124.3, one of the factors the court considers when deciding on child custody is “the propensity of each parent to actively support the child's contact and relationship with the other parent, including whether a parent has unreasonably denied the other parent access to or visitation with the child.” In an article written by Douglas Darnall, Ph.D., entitled Symptoms of Parental Alienation, some parent’s actions that can alienate a child from the other parent are:

  • Blaming the other parent for financial problems
  • Not allowing the other parent access to school or medical records and schedules of extracurricular activities
  • Asking the child to choose one parent over the other
  • Giving children choices about visits when court orders do not allow a choice
  • Using a child to spy or covertly gather information about the other parent
  • Reacting with hurt or sadness when the child enjoys time spent with the other parent
  • Physically or psychologically rescuing children from false threats to their safety

By consulting with Norfolk child custody modifications attorneys, you can understand your rights related to child custody and receive legal help with changing custody orders, if necessary. 

Darrell M. Harding has extensive experience negotiating custody arrangements on behalf of parents whether for initial custody orders or modifications.

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