While some California fathers claim that they get a bad deal in the child custody system and that mothers are favored, other evidence casts doubt on that belief. Instead, some people have raised concerns that fathers are being favored in child custody cases even when credible allegations of abuse are brought forward. This is especially true when fathers claim that the other parent is alienating the child and causing him or her to make allegations of abuse. Researchers found that when mothers are accused of parental alienation, they are twice as likely to lose custody.
In addition, they found that if a court believed claims of parental alienation, it almost always rejected allegations of abuse. Only one out of every 51 claims of sexual abuse is upheld in court if the other parent raises parental alienation as a claim, according to the study of over 2,000 child custody cases that involved issues relating to domestic violence, abuse or alienation claims. Experts said that it seems that many judges in the field believe that parental alienation is rampant, despite the fact that the theories behind the concept have not been recognized by the American Psychiatric Association.
Child custody cases can be costly, especially when both parties are fighting against each other for sole physical custody. The party who is less well-off financially may be at a disadvantage if the wealthier party can afford to keep the fight going for years. Experts estimate that up to 58,000 children each year are placed in custody or unsupervised visitation with abusive parents.
Claims of parental alienation are often unsubstantiated and may be used to brush aside serious concerns about abuse, neglect and mistreatment. Parents who are concerned that the other parent is not fit to care for their children can work with a family law attorney to ensure that their rights are upheld.