What is Malicious Parent Syndrome?

child crying in hallway

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Divorce is a difficult process, and in divorces involving children, there is the additional concern of supporting their ongoing happiness and well-being. If your divorcing spouse is engaging in what is known as malicious parent syndrome, it can make a divorce involving children that much more difficult and that much more painful. If you are facing divorce concerns related to malicious parent syndrome – or anything else – do not wait to consult with an experienced Coryell County divorce attorney.

What Is Malicious Parent Syndrome

The stress of divorce gets to the best of us, and it is not overly surprising when that stress comes out in unexpected ways – when a normally calm person becomes especially jittery, for example. That is all within the realm of the normal, but malicious parent syndrome goes far beyond anything that most of us consider normal.

When a parent engages in malicious parent syndrome (which is similar to and often used interchangeably with parental alienation), he or she takes it upon himself or herself to punish the other parent (often in relation to a pending divorce or to divorce terms that have already been settled). Unchecked, malicious parent syndrome can reach great heights that include the malicious parent refusing to allow all interaction between the other parent and his or her children and painting the ousted parent in a dark light that frightens or even repels his or her own children. Children are highly susceptible to suggestion, and when the person doing the influencing is a parent, his or her efforts can be especially effective.

The Elements of Malicious Parenting Syndrome

To qualify as malicious parenting, the parent must act with intention while employing all of the following elements:

  • A malicious parent will put few checks on himself or herself in his or her efforts to alienate the children from their other parent, leaving that parent with no other option than asking the court to intervene.

  • A malicious parent will outright deny visitation with and communication between the maligned parent and his or her children.

  • A malicious parent is not above outright lying to the children about the other parent and may break the law in the process of engaging in malicious parent syndrome.

  • A malicious parent has no underlying mental illness to explain his or her destructive behavior.

In other words, if your ex is engaging in malicious parent syndrome, he or she can do real damage to your relationship with your children, and as soon as you recognize the pattern, you are well-advised to seek the legal counsel of an experienced divorce attorney.

An Experienced Coryell County Divorce Attorney Can Help

Attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Coryell County, Texas, understands how quickly malicious parent syndrome can turn into a dire situation and is committed to skillfully strategizing in defense of your parental rights. To learn more about how we can help you, please do not wait to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.
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