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High Conflict-Complex Parental Rights Cases

When it comes to the practical side of time-sharing and parental decision making, parents often find ways to interfere with the parental rights of the other parent, especially in high conflict cases. This interference can occur directly, for instance, when one parent refuses to drop a child off for time with the other parent and indirectly when parents refuse to let a child talk on the phone with their other parent.

Additional examples of interference by parents is when one party intentionally fails to pay the other parent child support in order to cause unnecessary hardship for both the parent and child. Usually, the parent whom makes the money or has greater access to monetary funds, often engages in this type of behavior to force the other parent to become complicit, without regard or understanding of the negative effect such behavior has specifically on the children. Another example of interference, which is common in high conflict-complex parental rights cases is when one parent engages in acts designed to deprive the other parent of its parental rights, whether in whole or in part or when one parent attempts to remove a child from the court’s jurisdiction. In extreme cases, interfering with the time-sharing rights of another parent may be considered a felony crime. Malicious or alienating acts by one parent against the other can also lead to changes in custody and visitation.

High conflict custody cases are such a pressing issue that the Florida legislature has addressed it directly, stating, “parental conflict related to divorce is a societal concern as children suffer potential short-term and long-term detrimental economic, emotional, and educational effects during this difficult family transition.” Florida Statute 61.21(a).

Things That Parents Can Do To Reduce The Conflict

Some ways parents can reduce conflict and mitigate negative effects on their children is by moving past all-or-none, black or white thinking. Sole custody has become increasingly rare because studies have shown it is typically not the best outcome for children. Communicating with a child’s other parent in a mature, business-like fashion also goes a long way toward reducing conflict. Likewise, co-parenting-or working with your child’s other parent to create a cohesive parenting plan can shift the focus to the best interests of your child and away from interpersonal issues with the other parent.

Because these efforts are easier said than done and depending on the reason for the high conflict, whether it be due to a high conflict personality of one or both parents, drug addiction issues, mental health illness, diametrically opposite parenting styles or good old fashion monetary bullying, many parents solicit the extra support of a therapist, forensic psychologists, forensic accountant’s, addiction specialist and even a guardian when the circumstances require it to help the parties navigate the trials and tribulations that come with a high conflict-complex parental rights case. Experienced family law attorneys who understand the complexities of high conflict cases can also lend a helping hand and supportive ear, as well, as help your family navigate through the very difficult waters which lie ahead.

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