Without doubt, one of the most troublesome issues in a divorce is the specter of parental negative influence—the unfortunate circumstance in which one parent manages to turn the children against the other parent. Even though establishing the existence of parental negative influence may present forensic challenges in some circumstances, there do exist situations in which the question is not whether there is negative influence, but rather what is to be done about it.
In extreme circumstances of negative influence, it may be possible to effectuate a change in custody. In other circumstances where a degree of negative influence has been established, there may be other, less drastic, remedies that a court can impose—including certain financial considerations. For instance, even though the payment of child support is not obviated—even in the face of overt negative influence—the targeted parent may be absolved of contributing to the college or other secondary schooling of the child(ren) in question. This might be the case even if the college contribution obligation is memorialized in the divorce agreement.
No two child custody cases are the same. Accordingly, each family’s circumstances must be examined on its own merits. Be sure to contact a member of the Family Law Team at Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP if you have any questions about custody issues—be they dealing with straightforward custody and parenting time matters or the need to address more serious concerns attendant to parental negative influence.