Child custody is one of the most complex issues Washington parents will face during a divorce. The difficulty does not end simply because the divorce is final, and you may find that you and the other parent continue to struggle with communication and meeting the requirements of the custody and visitation arrangement. In some cases, one parent may intentionally try to sabotage the relationship the kids have with their other parent. They may even go to extreme efforts to make the other parent appear negligent or harmful.
Malicious parent syndrome happens when one parent acts vengefully and with purpose in order to damage the other parent’s rights and interests. Through alienation of the kids and other tactics, you may find that the other parent is refusing to abide by the terms of the custody and visitation order and interfering with the relationship you have with your kids. This is unacceptable, and if it’s happening to you, you have the right to fight back.
Are you a victim?
You may not realize right away that what you are experiencing with the other parent is much more than just emotional difficulty associated with your divorce. There are certain criteria typically associated with cases of malicious parent syndrome:
- The other parent finds ways to deny your children the means to communicate with you and involve you with school-related or extracurricular activities.
- One parent uses the courts or other means to punish the other parent for the divorce, alienating him or her from the kids.
- The parent lies to the children and other people involved with the kids, and also possibly does things that violate the law.
If the parent engaging in these harmful and unacceptable actions has no mental disorder that could explain the behavior, you could be a victim of malicious parent syndrome. It is in your interests to take immediate action to protect your relationships with your kids by pursuing legal recourse.
Fighting for your kids
You have the right to fight for and protect the relationship you have with your kids. If you are experiencing things you believe are harmful for your children or in violation of your custody order, there are legal options available to you. This type of behavior could be both a civil and criminal law violation, and it may also be appropriate to seek an adjustment to an existing custody and visitation order.