Child custody battles can become very heated in the divorce court room, and for good reason. Particularly if one spouse has a history of addiction or abuse, obtaining sole custody is generally the goal.

However, statistically, women who claim their ex-husband was abusive either to them or the children have a high chance of losing custody entirely if the father claims parental alienation. According to Forbes Magazine, if this happens the woman loses custody a frightening 44% of the time.

What is parental alienation?

The term parental alienation dates back to the 1980s. At the time, a prominent child psychologist alleged that mothers, bent on revenge against their husbands during the divorce process, would falsely claim abuse in order to alienate the children, deceive the courts, and receive sole custody. This is the definition of parental alienation.

In the modern era, many child psychologists refute this, citing a complete lack of evidence for its occurrence. However, the statistics do not lie. If a mother claims abuse and the father counterclaims with parental alienation, statistically the courts decide in favor of the father. This is even true in the event that the mother can prove abuse.

Why does this happen?

There are advocate groups working to correct this wrong. These groups theorize that since co-parenting is so favored in the courts these days, an allegation of abuse is rejecting co-parenting while an allegation of parental alienation is attempting to embrace it: as a result, the courts favor parental alienation claims.

Whether or not you should bring up abuse in your own custody battle depends on multiple factors. It is important to get personalized advice in this situation.