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Parental alienation syndrome is a psychological term that means one parent is turning the children against the other parent, usually due to a divorce or child custody dispute. The syndrome manifests as the child’s denigration of the other parent, but there is no real justification for it. It results from the other parent’s indoctrination of the child and the child’s own contribution to vilifying the targeted parent.
On March 25, 2015, the New York appellate court ruled in the appeal of Halioris v. Haloris , where the father sought sole custody based on the mother’s parental alienation. The mother had appealed the lower court’s decision and requested that the appellate court review the case.
In rendering its decision, the appeals court upheld the lower court’s decision to grant the father sole custody. The court referenced several other cases, quoting previous findings that influenced the court’s decision. This statement in particular was pivotal in the case:
‘Parental alienation of a child from the other parent is “an act so inconsistent with the best interests of the children as to, per se, raise a strong probability that the [offending parent] is unfit to act as custodial parent.” ‘
Clearly, divorce is an emotional matter for many parents, and they can lose a proper perspective when fighting for custody of their children. Even so, there are important legal guidelines to keep in mind. Parental alienation is one of them, and no matter how justified a parental may feel in alienating the child from the other parent, this type of behavior often backfires.
If you have questions about divorce or child custody issues, Chris Palermo is glad to provide you with answers and legal advice. As a Long Island divorce lawyer he is committed to protecting your rights and helping you achieve the best outcome possible.