Although many Pennsylvania families dealing with divorce face stress and contention, some situations can be quite ugly as parents lash out at each other. Although it may not be in the best interests of a child to speak badly of the other parent to the child, this can occur. If allegations of child abuse are brought up in the midst of a divorce, however, there can be devastating consequences for both parents and children.
In the case of valid child abuse allegations, the parent making a claim against the other party could run the risk of losing physical custody of their child. On the other hand, a judge's belief in the false allegations of a child based on parental alienation could result in the loss of rights for an individual who has done nothing wrong. Parental alienation involves a parent planting negative ideas in order to influence a child's perception of the other parent.
Because it can be difficult for a judge to know which parent is telling the truth in such a situation, there could be cautions in making decisions that would negatively affect an accused individual. A parent who has evidence to substantiate allegations of child abuse or neglect might be better received by a judge. Allegations of drug abuse related to neglect, for example, could be validated through drug testing to identify recent use of illegal substances. Police reports related to domestic violence calls could also be helpful.
A parent dealing with a contentious divorce might be tempted to litigate the matter in order to obtain favorable terms in areas of child custody and support. A family law attorney might provide insight about how to best prepare for a judge's questions during this type of action.