How do you define parental alienation? The term is used in family courts when one parent accuses another of acts that could include allegations of sexual and physical abuse, as well as other behaviors that may deliberately turn a child against the other parent in a manipulative fashion.
Allegations of parental alienation are substantial. In New York, courts have regularly held that a pattern of making false Child Protective Services (CPS) allegations by a custodial parent against a non-custodial parent are not only grounds to change custody, but also may be construed as child neglect.
This is not to say that allegations of abuse should not be taken seriously; they should always be thoroughly investigated. However, false charges or reports should also be taken very seriously, as they could cause irreparable harm to a parents’ reputation, as well as his or her relationship with the child involved.
A highly publicized ongoing legal battle over allegations of parental alienation involves actor Jason Patric, who starred in the films The Lost Boys and Speed 2: Cruise Control. Patric is involved in an ongoing custody and visitation dispute with a former girlfriend, to whom he donated sperm.
A trial court awarded the mother of Patric’s child full custody after she alleged that Patric wanted to keep his name off the child’s birth certificate while not intending to father the child in the media.
According to Newsweek, Patric wrote the mother a letter in 2008 outlining his desire to “gift” the woman with his sperm, while saying he was not ready for fatherhood. Since the birth of the child, Patric has fought for custody and visitation, although courts have ruled against him citing California Family Code involving sperm donors.
Subsequently, a restraining order was issued against Patric, claiming that he has shown instances of verbal, physical and emotional abuse (including anti-Semitic remarks) against the mother.
Patric has denied these charges, saying that he has been the victim of parental alienation. He has continued to fight for custody and visitation of the child, and launched a website to promote awareness of parental alienation syndrome (PAS), a mental health syndrome he fears his son may have to deal with for the rest of his life based on the allegations made against him.
What Should I Do If My Former Spouse Accused Me of Parental Alienation?
Sadly, most mental health experts agree that parental alienation is damaging to a child’s mental and emotional well-being. Some experts have said that it can influence a child’s ability to trust others far into adulthood, and can significantly affect his or her ability to maintain a trustworthy relationship with a partner.
Earlier this year, our attorneys achieved victory for a client who was falsely accused of sexual and physical abuse by a mother who filed unfounded CPS reports. We take these cases very seriously.
Issues involving child custody can be incredibly difficult to hash out following a divorce. If you have been accused of parental alienation or want to seek counsel involving a dispute, our offices in New York or New Jersey can be reached through our online contact form.
Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. – Rockland County Divorce Attorneys