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Judges in child custody cases consider the capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child.

It is natural to be bitter with the other parent during your child custody case, to feel anger, resentment and betrayal. It is often difficult to hold yourself together and especially to keep your child away from the hostility. It appears that too many parents bad mouth the other parent either to the child or to someone else in the presence of the child. Although you may be going through a difficult time, such behavior is harmful to your child. Your child is made up of both you and the other parent and likely loves both of his or her parents. Making such statements in front of your child often places him or her in a loyalty bind that they should choose one parent and also causes unnecessary stress. This is detrimental to a child and studies have shown that these children are more likely to experience anxiety, depression and substance abuse.

If you are aware that your parent is discussing your child custody litigation with your child or disparaging you in front of your child, consider requesting that the court appoint a guardian ad litem. Document any behavior from the other parent that demonstrates alienating behavior in a journal including dates, details, names and contact information for witnesses.

Keep in mind that the Court can consider alienating parental behaviors in the presence of the child that includes body language, noises, and physical gestures such as eye rolling. Whenever possible, videos of the other parent’s behavior can speak a thousand words.

This 20 part series tracks what judges are required to consider when making child custody and parenting plan determinations in divorce and paternity cases pursuant to Florida law to help parents focus on what is relevant to the Court to effectively present their divorce, paternity or modification of child custody case. Judicial child custody determination factors 1 to 17 are available in the Child Custody Achieves.