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Addressing parental alienation in contentious child custody cases in FL, P.2

Last time, we began looking at how family courts in Florida address the issue of parental alienation in divorce. The issue is, of course, more likely to come up in contentious divorce cases, where parents are bitter toward one another and unwilling to cooperate for the benefit of their children. As we noted, family courts will take into account any evidence of parental alienation in making an initial decision about child custody and parenting time.

In some cases, parental alienation may not be an issue initially, but it may arise later on, after custody and parenting time decisions have already been made. When this occurs, a parent may feel that there is no recourse, but this isn’t the case. When parental alienation arises, an experienced attorney can help a parent to seek modification of the current custody and parenting time arrangement. 

A necessary aspect of seeking a child custody modification is to obtain a new custody evaluation which takes adequate account of any changed circumstances. Courts will not grant a modification unless it can be shown that there has been a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances affecting the child. The court is then able to order a modification in the best interests of the child.

Presenting strong evidence of parental alienation is not always easy, particularly for parents of young children, as the negative effects are not necessarily easy to see right away. Parents seeking modification because of parental alienation should work with an experienced attorney who not only understands the legal aspects of parental alienation, but who is also able to make effective use of experts witnesses and other resources to help identify this behavior and bring it to the attention of the court when it is occurring. 

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