By: Alexandra Mulé
In divorce cases conflicting emotions among children and their parents becomes unfortunately common when the divorce is acrimonious. When this dynamic is present parental alienation tends to surface, and is taken very serious by the Court in determining custody and visitation. If the Court finds that one parent is alienating the child from the other parent, the child will likely be removed from the alienating parents custody and control. A parent who is found to have alienated their child from the other parent will likely be viewed by the Court as unfit to act as a custodial parent.
The Second Department has consistently held that parental alienation of a child from the other parent, including willful interference with his or her [parental access] rights, is ‘an act so inconsistent with the best interests of the children as to, per se, raise a strong probability that the [offending party] is unfit to act as custodial parent’ ” (E.V. v. R.V., 165 A.D.3d 736, 737, 85 N.Y.S.3d 84, quoting Entwistle v. Entwistle, 61 A.D.2d 380, 384–385, 402 N.Y.S.2d 213). The parent claiming parental alienation must present evidence to the court of willful parental alienation that would justify a change in custody.