Child Custody Outcomes in Cases Involving Parental Alienation and Abuse Allegations

The first goal of this project was to ascertain whether empirical evidence indicates that the concept of parental alienation is sex-biased in practice and outcome. Second, the study looked at outcomes in custody/abuse litigation by sex and by differing types of abuse. Analysis of over 2000 court opinions confirms that courts are sceptical of mothers’ claims of abuse by fathers; this scepticism is greatest when mothers claim child abuse. The findings also demonstrated that fathers’ cross-claims of parental alienation virtually doubled the courts’ rejection of these claims, and mothers’ losses of custody to the father accused of abuse.

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Author: Chris O'Sullivan, Jeffrey Hayes, Joan S Meier, Leora Rosen, Sean Dickson