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Often in matrimonial cases, the parties are so caught up on the emotion of their divorce that they desire to “win at all costs.” As any attorney I will tell you, this seldom, if ever, works out the way you think it will and more often will backfire on you with expected and unexpected consequences.


In most situations legal custody will be joint with one parent being deemed the residential parent for child support purposes. To warrant a modification of a pre-existing custodial arrangement, there must be sufficient evidence to support a change of circumstance reflecting a real need for a change with the determining factor being the best interests of the child.  Courts have held that the alienation of one parent and/or the lack and inability of the parties to communicate with each other concerning the needs of the child does not advance the best interests of the child and is enough to establish a change in circumstances. Again, that may be enough for a Court to change the custodial arrangement.  However, if one parent purposely attempts to interfere with the other parent’s parental rights, this may be sufficient for a finding of a change in custody.


False accusations and parental alienation is the fastest way for you to lose physical or residential custody of your child.  Remember, divorce is hard enough for children to adapt to, the last thing they need is for you to ruin or attempt to ruin the relationship with your former spouse for no other reason that you are angry and hurt. The best interest of your child is always to have a loving relationship with both parents.  The Courts take alienation very seriously and will act to prevent one parent from alienating another. It is imperative that you always foster such relationships and not interfere.  While you may no longer wish to speak to your ex-spouse, for the sake of the children, until they are emancipated, you must have at least a cordial relationship where you can discuss your child.  Your child’s welfare should always be paramount regardless of your feelings towards your spouse and if you are unable to put them first, the Court will impose harsh consequences to you for failing to do so.  

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