In some Tennessee child custody cases in Tennessee, one parent will make allegations that the other parent has engaged in some form of abuse, including domestic violence or child abuse. In some of these cases, the other parent will allege that the parent who has complained of abuse has engaged in parental alienation. Courts that find that a parent engaged in parental alienation are likelier to award custody to the other parent.

In a recent study that was published by the U.S. Department of Justice, researchers looked at cases from 2005 to 2014 that had published opinions available online. The data set for the researchers totaled 4,388 child custody cases. The researchers coded different cases for various types of abuse claims, including child sexual abuse, child physical abuse, and domestic violence. They then coded cases in which the accused parents claimed that the accusers were engaging in parental alienation.

The researchers found that fathers who claimed that the mothers were engaged in parental alienation were awarded custody 44% of the time whether or not abuse allegations had been made. By contrast, in cases in which the mothers claimed that the fathers were engaging in parental alienation, the mothers were awarded custody 28% of the time. The researchers also found that in cases in which women made abuse allegations and men made parental alienation allegations, the men were twice as likely to be awarded custody.

People who are involved in custody disputes might want to get help from experienced family law attorneys. When abuse has occurred, the attorneys might help their clients to gather evidence to prove it. The attorneys might also help to defend against parental alienation claims by the other parents in cases involving domestic violence against their clients or abuse of their clients’ children.