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NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION TAKES STAND AGAINST PARENTAL ALIENATION, UPHOLDS SOLE CUSTODY AWARD TO FATHER IN LANDMARK CASE



Parental alienation cases are unfortunately common in the frum community.


They are heart breaking, both because of the damage to the children and the fact that the alienated parent is often robbed of large parts of the children’s childhood. Parents who lose time with their children or are precluded from events due to alienation, never get that time or experience back.


Courts are often slow to take action, and Bais Din is often slower - if at all. 


In an extremely positive development, the New Jersey Appellate Division just took drastic action to put an end to a case of parental alienation, affirming the trial judge's ruling giving dad sole legal and residential custody and limiting mom to alternate weekends.


In affirming, the Appellate Division noted:


“[A] successful joint custody arrangement” can exist even where the parents disagree, so long as they are “able to isolate their personal conflicts from their roles as parents,” “spar[ing]” the child from “whatever resentments and rancor the parents may harbor.” Beck, 86 N.J. at 498-99. Here, the record clearly establishes that the parties were unable to exercise such restraint.


In this case, the custody expert was “pessimistic” about the likelihood of success of share custody given mom’s “…”entrenched” negative view of dad.”


The potential present and future impact of the alienation was also discussed:


As Dr. Joseph explained, mom was incapable of finding any positive element in dad's relationship with the child, and her inability resulted in her alienating behavior and interference with parenting time. And, mom did very little to promote dad's relationship with the child. According to Dr. Joseph, while the child’s young age allowed him to separate his positive experiences from mom's negative descriptions of dad, there was a genuine threat that the child eventually would reject dad if mom's behavior persisted. The record supports this determination.


The trial judge highlighted that dad was the parent better able to communicate, cooperate, and facilitate parenting time in considering factors one and two. N.J.S.A. 9:2-4(c). In contrast, the trial judge found that mom's alienating behaviors undermined her ability to foster a relationship between dad and the child.


A parent’s repeated inability to co-parent and interfere with the other parent can support an award of sole legal custody to the other parent. Nufrio, 241 N.J. Super. at 555. See also Beck, 86 N.J. at 499 (“[W]hen the actions of [an uncooperative] parent deprive the child of the kind of relationship with the other parent that is deemed to be in the child’s best interests, removing the child from the custody of the uncooperative parent may well be appropriate as a remedy of last resort.”).


Parental alienation is child abuse. Congratulations to the winning attorney David M. Lipshutz Esq. of Weinberg Kaplan & Smith, PA.


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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I haven’t seen or heard from my kids in 12 years I tried everything and no luck. I know this is hashems plan but it hurts very much. I even had big rabbis talk to them and the kids turned them away. The father in laws local Rav who I know since I was a kid and whose parents where my parents close friend, and his brother went to yeshiva with me. But my ex father in law gives big money to the shul. And they are controlling the shots. I don’t date cause I am still hurting and I was a great father. Brainwashed children are a big problem using them as pawns are a sin. I gave her everything she want in the divorce. I would even have taken supervised visit anything. But I still believe in hashem and are not giving up on seeing my children.

Yudel Shain said...

At least this may be the first step in stopping alienation of the parents children.

Don't ever sign the standard arbitration agreement by any bais din, it should be an extremely limited one.