In this case, the Supreme Court considered whether a parent’s actions amounted to parental alienation such that a custody modification was warranted.
It has been well-established that generally it is in the best interests of the children for them to have positive relationships with both parents. Ideally, despite their romantic relationship ending, parents will work toward fostering a good co-parenting relationship and support each other in efforts to maintain good relationships with the children. This does not always happen.
Parental alienation occurs when one parent intentionally manipulates the child into having negative feelings toward the other parent. This is often accomplished by saying negative things to the child about the other parent or manipulating circumstances so the other parent looks bad in the child’s eyes. For example, the noncustodial parent may need to reschedule time with the child. Instead of simply working with the noncustodial parent to reschedule and supporting him or her in that effort, the manipulating custodial parent refuses to reschedule and tells the child that the noncustodial parent does not make visitation a priority. If the custodial parent continues to speak negatively about the noncustodial parent, the child may start to harbor negative feels toward the noncustodial parent and as a result refuse to see the noncustodial parent.