Child custody cases are among the most contentious matters that come before any court of law. Even in cases in which each Arizona parent recognizes that the other plays a vital role in the life of a shared child, coming to terms on dividing parenting time can lead to conflict. In cases in which one parent accuses the other of some form of child abuse, the court is placed in a very difficult position when ruling on child custody matters.
Many forms of child abuse are difficult to document. There are not always visible bruises or scars, and many abused children are not able to give a comprehensive account of exactly what took place. Even when kids are willing and able to talk about their experiences, psychologists and other professionals can interpret those discussions in a number of ways. This is why so many accusations of abuse evolve into claims that the parent who is making those assertions is doing so not out of a desire to know the truth but a desire to win in court.
When the court feels that the parent who is reporting abuse is not credible, the end result is often a determination that parental alienation is at play. In other words, when a child wants little or nothing to do with one parent, the court could determine that the other parent has somehow "poisoned the mind" of the child. This is a very serious accusation, and it is one that can be likened to a form of emotional abuse.
For those Arizona parents who believe that their children have been subjected to some form of abuse at the hands of their other parents, it is absolutely vital to take a very careful approach. A family law attorney can help a parent work through the available options, and he or she can also be of assistance in gathering evidence to support a claim of abuse. In such an instance, being prepared prior to appearing in court is imperative, even more so than in a more "traditional" child custody case.
Source: ABC News, "Are Some Divorcing Parents Brainwashing Their Children? The Controversial Idea of Parental Alienation", Lauren Pearle, April 8, 2016