Parental alienation is a phenomenon in which a child refuses to maintain a relationship with one of his or her parents. It needs to be distinguished from parental alienation syndrome (PAS), a term that was coined by psychologist Richard A. Gardner in 1985. PAS is defined as one parent’s attempts to deliberately turn a child against the other parent, while parental alienation can have different causes.
While PAS is not recognized as a formal diagnosis and has been widely debated in the psychiatric community, parental alienation is a recognized dynamic in some families. If you are concerned about maintaining your rights as a parent during your divorce hearings, the San Diego child custody lawyers at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP can help. Call us at 858-935-6211.
Parental Manipulation or Justified Fear?
A child who is experiencing parental alienation will generally fight to avoid spending time with the alienated parent. The child may also insult or criticize that parent, either to others or in the parent’s presence. If the child is old enough to speak at the custody hearing, he or she may request that the preferred parent receive custody.
The main controversy lies in the different potential reasons behind this alienation. It may be deliberately or accidentally provoked by one parent. For example, some parents will insult their ex-spouses, leading their children to share their negative opinions. In extreme cases, parents may try to convince their children that the other parent abused them as a tactic to win custody.
However, some children have good reasons to feel anger or fear towards their parents. A child who is genuinely being abused may understandably do whatever he or she can to avoid his or her abuser. The challenge for family law judges is to distinguish between children who are being manipulated by one parent, and children who are trying to escape real abuse.
Whether you have been accused of alienating your child from his or her other parent, or you are trying to protect your child from abuse, our experienced San Diego child custody attorneys will fight for you.
Child custody hearings can be extremely complex, both legally and personally. For the knowledgeable, effective legal assistance you need, contact the San Diego divorce lawyers of Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP at 858-935-6211.
Mike's Top FAQs About Child Custody401K plans and divorce
401K plans and divorce
If my spouse waives his right to my 401k plan, is there any circumstance that the court will still award him half or a portion of my 401k plan?
It is theoretically possible that a court can disturb an agreement to waive rights to property, but it is unlikely. Courts will generally treat agreements as contracts, and thus are likely to strike an agreement only if it is unconscionable, induced by fraud, undue influence, duress or is against public policy. The judge cannot “reject,” nullify, or modify the provisions of an agreement merely because of his or her personal belief that a different arrangement should be made.
A marital settlement agreement, or MSA, can be used as a contract between spouses regarding the division of property that would otherwise be subject to community property laws. An MSA is subject to general contract laws, meaning that it can be found invalid if terms are against public policy (which includes, but is not limited to, (a) abrogating the statutory child support duty or impinging on the court’s jurisdiction to award child support, (b) limiting the court’s exercise of child custody jurisdiction, (c) “altering legal relations,” (d) “promoting dissolution,” and (e) providing for “fault”-based penalties at marriage dissolution) . The MSA can also be found invalid if entered into as a result of fraud, duress, menace, undue influence, or other factors which may make the agreement void or invalid. Generally, an agreement such as the MSA is favored. Hence, if there are no legal or equitable grounds for rescission or reformation it is binding on the parties and the court without express approval.
Can I get child support in California if I am not getting a divorce?
I have been separated for two years from my wife, and my kids live with me. Can I get support without filing for divorce in California? We have not been living together since our separation, and even file taxes separately.
You do not need to file for divorce in order to get support. You will need to go through the court to obtain a child support order so you will have to file something. You can contact your local Department of Child support services office and they can help you get started. So while you do not have to file for divorce, you can file for a legal separation. The court needs to know that you two have in fact separated and there is one parent who is the full time provides and therefore in need of support.
Can I move out with my daughter before the divorce in California?
My wife and I are going to divorce, but we have not filed yet. We are always fighting, and my daughter, who is 7, is very stressed with the way we are living. Can I move out with her, if I do not move far away and let him see her all the time? He is not happy with my choice. Is this legal?
Yes, you can move out with your daughter, assuming there are no court orders already in place regarding custody and visitation. It is important to maintain frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent. When the court makes custody and visitation orders they will look highly upon the parent who facilitated contact with the child and the other parent. It is important to make the transition as easy as possible for the child.
Question: Is there a statute of limitations on owed child support?
An ex lover of mine (20 years ago) just approached me out of nowhere about getting tested to see if her son is my child. He is 20 and I live in California. I am trying to find the statue of limitations for child support if indeed I take the test and the child turns out to be mine.
Unless the mother has made a claim for child support with the welfare office or her local Department of child support services office, they cannot now collect from you on child support. Since he is no longer a minor child now that he is emancipated, there are no obligations for child support. You can get tested to see if you are the father, but you do not have to.
If the state has paid out welfare for the child, and it turns out that you are the Father, there can be some potential liability there with having to pay back the state the money they paid out. If this is not an issue, then they cannot now ask you to pay for child support.
Is the opinion of the child ever taken into consideration in a divorce?
Typically the Courts will take the child’s opinion into consideration at the age of 12. There is no set age, it depends on the maturity level of the child. If a child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference to custody the court can take it into consideration. It is important to note that all judges will rule for what is in the child’s best interests whether it be for the mother or the father.