Jamison Associates


Solving Legal Problems
For 40 Years

Can one parent use their kids as a weapon against the other?

On Behalf of | Jun 15, 2023 | Child Custody

People who have children together in Missouri effectively intertwine their lives permanently. Even if they choose to end their relationship with one another through separation or divorce, they will always have a connection through their children. In most cases, they will see each other regularly at least until the children reach adulthood.

Some people grow to accept that reality and embrace it gracefully, while others resent the need to continue seeing and interacting with a former romantic partner. A few people go so far as to use the children as a weapon in a bid to punish or hurt the other parent. They may attempt to cut off the other parent from the children or manipulate the children into turning against them. Does someone thinking about the end of a relationship in Missouri have to worry about their co-parent cutting them off from their children?

Shared custody is usually what’s best for children

No matter how intense the disputes between the parents may become, the children typically need the love, guidance and support of both parents to thrive. With the rare exception of truly dangerous and unstable situations, family law judges in Missouri expect to see parents cooperating with one another and will usually order shared custody arrangements.

Although parents won’t always have a 50/50 split, they should have a reasonable amount of parenting time and say in the lives of their children unless there are extenuating circumstances. The attempt of one parent to cut out the other completely or manipulate how the children perceive the other parent would likely constitute parental alienation, and such selfish behavior can actually hurt someone’s custody case.

Judges recognize that parental alienation harms not just the targeted parent but also the children in the family and will sometimes reduce one parent’s time with the children if they demonstrate a tendency to interfere in the other parent’s bond with the children. Those experiencing alienation will need to keep trying to be present for their children as they document what has happened to build their case for family court.

Many loving parents give up on their relationships with their children because of tension with another parent. Knowing and asserting one’s parental rights can benefit not only that individual but also their children, who may need their love and support as they continue to grow.