Malicious Parent Syndrome

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Malicious Parent Syndrome

Malicious Parent Syndrome Definition

Malicious parent syndrome is using the children to punish the other parent. 

This is when a parent harms or deprives their child to make the other parent look bad. 

Related: Reasons a Judge Will Change Custody

What Is Malicious Parent Syndrome?

When you’re in a divorce or custody battle, many things feel like malicious parent syndrome. 

So, what is malicious parent syndrome? 

Malicious parent syndrome is considered a condition.

It’s where one parent acts purposefully and vengefully towards the other surrounding a divorce.

Malicious parent syndrome must meet these criteria.

They must:

  • be committing parental alienation
  • be denying visitation and communication to you
  • be lying to the children about you not showing up
  • be violating laws or court orders
  • NOT be suffering from other mental disorders

Related: How Can a Mother Lose Custody of Her Child

Committing Parental Alienation

During a divorce, parents are usually very upset with each other. 

And they see the children as leverage to “get back” ‘at the other parent. 

Parental alienation gets used to lash out at the other parent for the divorce. 

Parental alienation results in the child being distanced from the other parent. 

This is a result of one parent psychologically manipulating the child against that parent.

This “distance” shows up in the child as:

  • fear of the other parent
  • disrespect or hostility toward that parent
  • not wanting to see that parent 

Related: How Can A Mother Lose Custody To The Father

Denying Visitation And Communication

This is commonly known as parental interference or custodial interference. 

This is when a parent:

  • doesn’t allow the child to talk to the other parent
  • “gets too busy” to drop the child off on time
  • blocks emails, texts, and calls from the other parent
  • doesn’t inform the other parent of important activities

Sometimes, parents will do this when the other parent owes child support. 

But keeping the child away from the other parent can backfire

This can result in:

  • fines
  • misdemeanors
  • jail time
  • felonies

Related: Non-Custodial Parent Moving Out Of State

Lying To The Children

Lying to the children is a major factor in malicious parent syndrome. 

Parents will lie to their children about the other parent. 

This can include things like:

  • not telling the parent about activities and telling the kids they didn’t want to come
  • spending support money and saying they aren’t getting any
  • blocking visitation and saying the parent doesn’t want to see them

These are things we see happen all the time. 

These malicious parent syndrome activities manipulate the children. 

And it makes the children wrongfully dislike the other parent. 

Mental Disorders

Malicious parent syndrome has not been deemed a mental disorder. 

It is classified as a pattern of behaviors.

The judge wants to make sure that mental disorders are not causing this behavior.  

If there are no mental disorders, then it’s deemed malicious parent syndrome. 

Examples Of Malicious Parent Syndrome

You probably want to know specific examples of malicious parent syndrome. 

That way you can tell if it’s legally happening to you. 

Some examples of malicious parent syndrome are:

  • burning down the house of the ex-spouse (trust us, it happens)
  • falsely accusing the other parent of abuse
  • purposefully interfering with planned parenting time
  • misinforming the parent about the child’s activities so they miss them
  • telling the children they can’t afford food because the other parent wasted their money

Related: Grounds for Full Custody of Child

Malicious Parent Syndrome Effects On Children

The goal of malicious parent syndrome is to get back at the other parent. 

This gets accomplished by deteriorating the relationship that the parent has with the child. 

Short term, the effects of this on the children are:

  • distrust of the alienated parent
  • anger towards that parent
  • lower self-esteem
  • separation anxiety
  • misbehavior
  • feelings of anger and hostility

Longer-term effects on children are:

  • low self-esteem
  • addiction and substance abuse
  • trust issues
  • relationship problems

Related: No Custody Agreement Father Took Child

Legal Consequences Of Malicious Parent Syndrome

There are so many legal consequences to malicious parent syndrome. 

And each action has different types of legal consequences. 

Here are some examples of situations and the consequences. 

  • attacking the other parent or property – criminal charges
  • depriving the children of food or money – child abuse
  • lying to the judge under oath – perjury

These legal consequences come with:

But, separate from this, there are also violations of civil law, like:

  • denying court-ordered visitation
  • parental alienation
  • parenting time interference
  • blocking communication with the child
  • lying about the parent to the child
  • not telling the parent about important events

These types of civil violations violate court orders. 

This is because custody and visitation are court orders. 

When this happens, the courts are likely to:

  • impose fines
  • make the parent attend counseling
  • change custody
  • change child support
  • impose misdemeanor charges
  • impose supervised visitation

Related: Moving Out of State With Child No Custody Agreement

What Can You Do About Malicious Parent Syndrome?

If you are experiencing malicious parent syndrome:

  • document the behaviors as evidence for the court
  • hire a child custody attorney
  • provide them with your evidence
  • file a petition to modify custody and child support
  • receive new court orders

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