American Fathers 4Change with a mission of helping to bring awareness that by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers it will improve the well being of children.
"The man as he converses is the lover; silent, he is the husband." ~ Honore de Balzac
Sometimes hostile people will be vindictive enough to file false allegations of child abuse. With this going on the child suffers because the parent only filed false allegations to get the upper hand. Maybe they just want to get even with the other parent, step parent and sometimes other family members. In some cases abuse does occur. But in these cases that many of us have to deal with one of the parents will lie in court about child abuse. Sometimes even sexual child abuse.
The hostile parent will not lie only once but many times because they can get away with it. The court system should make these parents accountable for their bad actions. There should be at least a fine to pay, loss of custody, or even possible jail time.
Lying about abuse isn't okay it's perjury and it's wrong. It's also a form of using the child as a pawn in a selfish game some parents play. The law should uphold the law and keep people accountable when they lie about child abuse and lie in court papers.
Children shouldn't be used as a pawn to hurt others. They shouldn't be caught up in a lie made by their parents. Children should be love and not used.
Interference by one parent in the relationship of a child and the other parent is almost never in the child's best interests. In fact, in extreme cases, actions by one parent to alienate the affections of the child from the other parent, to interfere win the other parent's visitation rights, or to remove the child to a distant state or country can often lead to liability in tort. See generally E. Borris, "Torts Arising Out of Interference with Custody and Visitation," 7 Divorce Litigation 192 (1995). Tort liability is not always an option, however, as many courts refuse to award damages based upon interference with visitation rights. E.g., Cosner v. Ridinger, 882 P.2d 1243 (Wyo.1994).
A noncustodial parent is not always left without a remedy, however, simply because courts in that parent's jurisdiction refuse to recognize tort actions arising out of interference with his or her parental rights. This article discusses a different type of liability which may result from interference with the noncustodial parent's rights: loss of custody. The article will first discuss whether a party may generally obtain a change of custody based upon such interference. The article will then examine specific acts by a custodial parent which may cause a court to change custody, including denial of visitation rights, alienation of the child's affections away from the noncustodial parent, and removal of the child to a distant jurisdiction. The section on alienation of the child's affections includes a discussion of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and recent cases that have dealt with PAS. The article concludes with a suggestion of possible provisions that practitioners may insert in custody decrees in order to prevent future problems between custodial and noncustodial parents.
Interference Amounting to a Substantial Change in Circumstances
Most courts and experts agree that except in unusual cases it is most important for a child to have a strong relationship with both parents. Thus, courts will typically conclude that an award of custody to the parent who is most likely to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent is in the child's best interests. For this reason, if a custodial parent has demonstrated in the past a pattern of interference with the relationship between the child and the noncustodial parent, unless other facts dictate a different holding, courts will frequently conclude that a substantial change in circumstances justifying a change of custody has occurred.
Not surprisingly, there is a long-standing tradition of awarding a change of custody where the custodial parent has interfered with the parental rights of the other parent. The Court of Appeals of Maryland clearly established this point in Berlin v. Berlin, 239 Md. 52, 210 A.2d 380 (1965). In Berlin, the parties entered into a written separation agreement. Pursuant to the agreement, incorporated into the court's order, custody of the children was awarded to the mother, and the father received reasonable visitation rights. In addition, the parties also agreed that the mother would notify the father if the mother moved out of the Washington metropolitan area. Subsequently, the mother began denying the father his right to visitation. For this reason, the father requested a change in custody. The trial court granted the father's request, and the mother appealed.
Specific Acts of Interference Which May Cause a Court to Change Custody
After a practitioner determines whether the relevant jurisdiction may award a change of custody based upon acts of interference with the noncustodial parent's rights, it must be determined which particular acts will justify such a change. The relevant authority indicates that three distinct fact patterns may justify a change. First, courts often award a change of custody if the custodial parent repeatedly interferes with the noncustodial parent's court- ordered visitation rights. Second, courts are inclined to award a change of custody if the custodial parent alienates the child's affections away from the noncustodial parent. Third, if the custodial parent removes the child to a distant jurisdiction without informing the noncustodial parent of the move, courts frequently order a change of custody. Each of these scenarios will be addressed in turn.
Frustration of Visitation Rights
The most common form of interference with parental rights which is remedied by courts occurs when custodial parents consistently refuse to turn children over to the noncustodial parents for court-ordered visitation. The fact that courts frequently order changes of custody in this circumstance is perfectly understandable, since court-ordered visitation is often the noncustodial parent's only connection to his or her children. If this visitation is frustrated, the child's best interests are clearly injured because the child will be completely deprived of a relationship with the noncustodial parent.
"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home." (Tecumseh).
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