Mother and child concerned with child custody

Parental Alienation and Modifying Arizona Child Custody Orders

Q: How can parental alienation impact child custody?

If you are getting divorced in Arizona, it’s in your best interest to try to compromise and work things out with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Unfortunately, that isn’t always possible. 

Phoenix divorce attorneys help clients navigate the often-turbulent waters of the divorce process. 

Sadly, child custody is often a highly contentious issue. In Arizona, it is generally regarded to be in the best interest of the children if both parents share in raising the children after the split, but there are exceptions to the shared custody norm in extreme circumstances.

What is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation is considered a form of child abuse that can impact the court’s award of custody. It happens when one parent deliberately tries to turn a child against the other parent. 

Examples of parental alienation behavior include: 

  • frequent criticism of the other parent in front of the child
  • blaming the divorce on the other parent
  • telling lies about the other parent
  • making the child feel guilty for wanting to be with the other parent
  • causing drama or tension during visitation time
  • not sharing information about the child
  • excluding the other parent from extracurricular activities, and more.

These types of “head games” are often detrimental to the emotional health of the child and may cause serious damage to the parent-child relationship. It’s important to seek the advice of a skilled parental alienation attorney if you suspect your ex of these behaviors. 

Whether it is driven by alleged parental alienation behaviors or another compelling reason, it’s not uncommon for a parent to seek a modification order regarding child custody arrangements if circumstances have changed significantly and the current arrangement may no longer be safe or appropriate for the children. 

Lisa Marie Presley’s most recent ex-husband is reportedly seeking to strip her of primary custody of their twin daughters following the suicide of her son from a prior relationship. He reportedly shot and killed himself in her home, prompting her ex-husband to seek a modification order for “100% physical custody” of the girls. The grounds for his request were reportedly two-fold: that the danger of having a gun in the house causes a “significantly higher risk to the safety of the children” and his concerns that the devastation over her son’s death may increase the likelihood of her “relapsing into drug and alcohol dependency”. The former couple have a history of nasty custody battles.

If you are considering getting divorced, have been served with divorce papers, or have any questions regarding modifying a child custody order or any other family law matter, Cohen Family Law can help you. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation

From our office in Phoenix, we’ve been helping clients throughout Arizona navigate their family law issues since 1982. We pride ourselves on aggressively advocating for clients throughout Arizona while also becoming engaged in their lives and forming a personal bond.