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Research shows courts believe parental alienation exists

In child custody cases in Virginia, as in any other state, the top priority is what is best for the children. However, according to research from George Washington University, claims of child sexual abuse are rarely substantiated when the mother makes the claim against the father. The study found that just 1 out of 51 allegations of sexual abuse that are made by the mother against the father are confirmed.

In the other situations, the courts often side with fathers who claim that they are being victimized due to parental alienation. According to a representative from Child Justice, there is a strong belief among judges and attorneys that parental alienation happens frequently. Parental alienation occurs when one person tries to manipulate his or her child into believing that the other parent is a bad or dangerous individual. However, many are skeptical of the researcher who first coined the term Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS).

The American Psychiatric Association (APA), as well as the American Medical Association (AMA), have never recognized the work used to describe this condition. Maryland and other states are now looking into using empirical evidence to make decisions relating to cases involving allegations of child abuse. A resolution passed by the House suggests that allegations of abuse be investigated and resolved before a child custody decision is made.

Individuals who are embroiled in child custody and visitation disputes may want to work with legal counsel to resolve their cases. An attorney may assist a client with investigating allegations of domestic violence toward an adult or child. If these claims can be confirmed, it may enable an individual to seek sole custody of his or her child. In some cases, an abusive parent may have his or her parental rights terminated by a judge.

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