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Can allegations of parental interference impact child custody?

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2023 | Family Law

During Mississippi family law cases, children are easily caught in the middle. This could involve child custody, parenting time and support. Regarding custody and parenting time, the court will base its determination on the child’s best interests.

For best interests, there are myriad factors. Generally, it will want to know that the child’s basic needs will be served, they will be safe, they will have a proper education and the parents can coordinate their efforts for the child’s upbringing even if they are not on the best terms with each other.

Unfortunately, some parents cannot let the past go and they are accused of putting negative thoughts in the child’s mind about the other parent. This is commonly known as parental interference.

What is parental interference and how does it impact a child?

When there are allegations of parental interference, it can significantly alter the custody and parenting time situation. A parent who is shown to have interfered with the other parent’s relationship with the child could be denied custody.

An example that was used in Mississippi was when a father made derogatory comments to the child about the mother and told the child not to listen to her. Another case led to a father getting custody in part because the mother was committing parental interference.

Custody can be modified if experts testify that interference leads to what is known as “parental alienation syndrome.” This results from tactics a parent might employ to try and facilitate the child to reject the other parent. Not only does this have the potential to negatively impact the child’s well-being, but it can compel the court to make a specific custody and parenting time decision because of it.

For complex custody and parenting time concerns, professional help is key

Divorce comes about for myriad reasons and it can be problematic for children. Still, parents need to remember that they can harm their own case for custody and parenting time by letting lingering negative feelings from the marriage inspire them to try and interfere with the other parent’s relationship with the child.

Unless there is a danger to the child, the best interests generally include a relationship with both parents. To interfere with that can cause unnecessary challenges.