In an ideal world, all parents are fit parents for their children. This is why co-parenting is such a popular arrangement for children after divorce. Children usually do best if both parents involve themselves in their lives, even if those parents are no longer cohabiting.

However, in some situations, parents with a history of addiction or abuse may not be fit to hold guardianship of children. Ideally, in these cases the courts would pursue sole custody. However, according to Forbes Magazine, if a female parent makes allegations of abuse at a custody hearing and the male parent counterclaims with parental alienation, the female parent loses custody 40% of the time.

What is parental alienation?

In the 1980s, a child psychologist theorized that women who wished to exact revenge on their ex-husbands would falsely claim child abuse so as to separate the father from his children. Even though modern psychologists say that parental alienation has no science to back it up, it remains a very popular tool in custody battles.

Essentially, the evidence suggests that parental alienation is more convincing to a court than abuse, even if there is evidence backing up the abuse.

Why is this the case?

Again, in the majority of situations a co-parenting outcome is most beneficial for the child, even if it is inconvenient for the parents. The courts very heavily favor co-parenting and are highly likely to lean on a co-parenting outcome. This can lead to courts overlooking what is actually in the best interest of children.

Whether or not it is advantageous for you to make an abuse claim in your individual child custody case depends on multiple factors. However, it is vital to understand how powerful a counterclaim of parental alienation is.