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Divorce, Malicious Parent Syndrome, and the Impact on Non-Custodial Parents: Insights from Beveridge Law Firm, PLLC

by | Nov 5, 2023 | Child Custody, Family Law


For help, contact us at 281-407-0961 or visit our website.

Introduction: Understanding Malicious Parent Syndrome

Navigating divorce and child custody battles can be emotionally charged, and in some cases, parents resort to damaging behaviors like Malicious Parent Syndrome (MPS). At Beveridge Law Firm, PLLC, we are here to address your concerns and questions about MPS. We’ll explain what it entails, its potential repercussions on parent-child relationships, and its implications for family law cases. Our focus is on non-custodial parents facing such challenges in Brazoria and Galveston County, particularly in the 461st District Court and the 300th District Court.

About the Author: Our founder, Ben Beveridge, has a personal connection to this issue. He went to law school to fight his own custody case and, less than three months after passing the bar exam, gained equal access to his kids. Advocating for laws that allow kids equal access to both parents, he has drafted bills and worked to get them passed into law.

What is Malicious Parent Syndrome?

Malicious Parent Syndrome (MPS) is a harmful and vengeful behavior often exhibited by divorcing or separated parents. It involves one parent intentionally attempting to cast the other parent in a negative light and disrupt their child’s relationship with them.

MPS is not classified as a mental disorder, but rather, it signifies extreme and destructive conduct. Although it is sometimes referred to as parental alienation, they are not identical. To be categorized as MPS, the following four criteria must be met.

Understanding the Four Characteristics of Malicious Parent Syndrome

In 1995, psychologist Ira Turkat described Malicious Parent Syndrome, originally referring to it as “Malicious Mother Syndrome.” It is now widely acknowledged that fathers can also exhibit this behavior. To qualify as MPS, the following four criteria must be met:

  1. Punitive Actions: The parent seeks to exact revenge on their ex-spouse by alienating the child from the other parent, involving third parties in harmful actions against the other parent, and engaging in excessive litigation.
  2. Interference with Parent-Child Relationship: The parent endeavors to deprive the other parent of regular visitation, uninterrupted communication, and participation in the child’s school and extracurricular activities.
  3. Pervasive Pattern: The behavior encompasses malicious actions such as repeatedly lying to the child about the other parent, lying to others about the other parent, and even breaking the law.
  4. Absence of Mental Disorder: The parent’s actions are not attributed to a mental disorder or illness that would provide an explanation for their behavior.

Extreme Examples of Malicious Parent Syndrome

MPS is characterized by extreme measures taken to disrupt the ex-spouse’s life and create turmoil in the parent-child relationship. Here are some illustrative examples:

  • A mother consistently tells her young children that their father is a child molester, despite the absence of evidence.
  • A mother compels her child to sleep in a car or believe they are homeless to demonstrate their father’s financial wrongdoing.
  • A father spreads malicious falsehoods about his ex-partner in an attempt to have her fired from her job.

These are just a few instances of how a parent can engage in Malicious Parent Syndrome. If you are a target of such behavior, it is crucial to seek assistance from an experienced family law attorney.

Impact of Malicious Parent Syndrome on Divorce and Child Custody Cases

MPS can significantly affect divorce and child custody cases. When one parent engages in MPS, the other parent may initially struggle to secure custody or visitation rights. The situation can lead to case delays while the court investigates the truth.

In some instances, MPS can constitute a criminal offense or child abuse. In such cases, the parent exhibiting MPS is more likely to lose the court battle, face child support orders, and have limited or no visitation with the child. Surprisingly, MPS can backfire, causing more harm to the parent engaging in such conduct.

If you are facing divorce or a child custody case and suspect your spouse of MPS, it is imperative to seek legal assistance without delay. A skilled family law attorney can guide you through the family court process and safeguard your rights.

Is Your Ex Engaging in Malicious Parent Syndrome? Contact Us

If you are involved in a divorce or child custody dispute in Brazoria and Galveston County and suspect your ex-spouse is practicing Malicious Parent Syndrome, reach out to an experienced family law attorney. The attorneys at Beveridge Law Firm, PLLC are well-versed in handling MPS cases and can help protect your rights and reputation.

Addressing this issue promptly is vital before it escalates and causes irreparable harm to your parent-child relationship. We will evaluate your case and assist you in determining the best course of action. Let us be your support in safeguarding what matters most: your relationship with your children. Schedule a consultation today by calling 281-407-0961.