Generally speaking, co-parenting is the most common custodial agreement following a divorce. There is plenty of literature backing up the fact that children do best with both parents actively involved in their lives, even if the parents are no longer married or cohabitating.

However, one of the more enduring reasons for sole custody is if one parent suffers from addiction or has a history of abuse. Despite this, many women find they lose custody of their children if they claim the father is guilty of abuse. According to Forbes Magazine, this is because the fathers can counterclaim with parental alienation.

What is parental alienation?

The idea of parental alienation is from the 1980s. At the time, a prominent child psychologist claimed that mothers going through divorce would falsely accuse fathers of child abuse in order to obtain sole custody and enact vengeance against the fathers. This is the definition of parental alienation.

However, in the modern day, many psychologists say that there is little to no evidence that parental alienation is a common issue. Despite this, if a father claims parental alienation in response to a mother alleging abuse, the father ended up with custody of the children 44% of the time.

Should I not divulge abuse?

This leaves mothers in a very difficult situation. Statistically speaking, it is not advantageous for a mother to divulge abuse to the court if her goal is to retain custody of any children. However, the details of each custody case are different. It is important to discuss your case with a legal professional before making a decision about abuse allegations.