Children As Weapons - High Conflict Divorce
Key Points
  • Often with high conflict divorce there is contention with custody as well. The only outcome in a contentious custody battle is emotional and mental pain for your child.
  • Sometimes a bitter divorce leaves on parent vengeful and the custodial parent may sabotage the relationship between the non-custodial parent and child. Alienating one parent from the child damages the estranged parent, but irreparably damages the child.
  • Using children as a weapon to hurt your spouse is not an effective tool and should not be used in any divorce proceeding. Children love both parents, should love them equally, and parents should not be interfering with this relationship.

Without a doubt, the arguments of men’s and father’s rights movements find traction among men who experience what are called high conflict marriages and divorces, that is, marriages that end in divorces where each spouse escalates the level of conflict. Almost all divorces are painful, but high conflict actions, where custody and visitation outcomes become symbolic of moral victories, tend to bring out the worst in wounded people suffering great emotional and mental pain. And in some high conflict divorces woman and children may be in physical danger from an angry father and husband who teeters on the brink.

In these volatile, high-conflict situations, possession of the child affords a custodial mother an easy opportunity to interfere with a noncustodial father’s visitation. In one survey, some 40 percent of mothers reported they interfered with the noncustodial father’s visitation "on at least one occasion to punish the ex-spouse."

Occasional interference may give way to a full-blown campaign by a custodial mother to sabotage a child’s relationship with his or her father. Called the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), these efforts happen when one parent seeks to destroy the familial bonds that once existed with the other parent. Demeaning the absent spouse, exposing the child to unnecessary details of the marriage breakdown, blaming the other parent for the financial strains of the divorce - all are elements that many come into play when a custodial parent tries to torpedo the relationship between a child and the noncustodial parent.

The PAS worsens the relationship between former spouses is self- evident, but "[t]he guilt children experience when their parents separate is exacerbated by the added stress of being made to feel that their love and attachment for one parent is contingent on their abandoning the other." In this situation, child can move from the tug-of-war of a custody battle to the crossfire of warring parents using them as proxies in in on-going struggle.

Men’s rights and father’s right activists contend that women make false claims of domestic violence, sexual and child abuse in order to gain the upper hand in divorce, custody and visitation. The adversarial nature of child custody hearings, which can be zero-sum, win or lose propositions, encourages woman to go to such lengths because even the accusation of child abuse or domestic violence makes a man guilty. The so-called S.A.I.D. syndrome - Sexual Allegation in Divorce - has been likened to an atomic bomb because simply charging a divorcing spouse with child molestation, wife battering or spousal rape can change the dynamics of a custody battle, whereby the accused finds himself "simultaneously facing both the criminal justice and social service bureaucracies where conflicting rules of evidence deny him the presumption of innocence." Pending the outcome of such an allegation, the accused may end up barred from his house, paying legal bills to defend himself, and "nursing a permanently injured reputation and functioning as the ’absent’ father with a sparse schedule of controlled visits."

The aftermath of a bitter divorce can be poisonous. Many former spouses struggle with the truth of divorced parenthood: they are no longer married but they are still parents. About half the mothers "see no value in the father’s continued contract with his children," according to Joan Kelly and Judith Wallerstein, writing in Surviving the Breakup. Against this, the Journal of Divorce reported that 70 percent of all divorced fathers "felt they had too little contact with their children."

Useful Online Tools

Suggested Reading
The Men's Rights Manual for Divorce The Men's Rights Manual for Divorce
What you are experiencing or contemplating is probably going to be the most difficult time of your life. Separation and divorce can break anyone emotionally and financially if you let it. Your future is in your hands. This manual gives you easy access to your rights, which will provide you the needed protection for you to have a successful divorce.

Download Now

Related Article Archives
Child Support
Custody & Visitation
Domestic Violence
Parental Alienation
    All Article Archives

Related Categories
Children & Divorce
Child Relocation
Collect & Paying Child Support
Divorce & Pets
Divorce, Dollars & Debt
Divorce Myths
Military & Divorce
Pensions & Divorce
    All Categories
Related Forums
Child Custody
Child Removal
Child Support
Men's Rights
Military Divorce
Spousal Support
    All Forums

Resources & Tools

Bookstore Promotion Discount

Start Your Divorce Online Start Your Divorce
Several Options to Get Started Today.
Divorce Tools Online Divorce Tools
Keeping it Simple to Get the Job Done.
Divorce Downloads Download Center
Instantly Download Books, Guides & Forms.
Divorce and Custody Books Discount Books
Over 100 of the Best Divorce & Custody Books.
Negotiate Online Negotiate Online
Settle your Divorce and Save.
Custody and Support Tracking Custody Scheduling
Make Sure You Document Everything.
FATHERS’ RIGHTS -- The "fathers’ rights” movement supports the idea that custody decisions should not discriminate against fathers. Support groups, including Fathers for Equal Rights in Miami and Fathers Are Forever in California, provide support for fathers who feel unfairly treated by the legal system.
Start Divorce
Custody Scheduling and Tracking

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:


Men's Book Men's Rights Manual for Divorce

Men's Rights Manual for Divorce

Men's Rights Manual for Divorce


Featured Download What Constitutes Emancipation to Release a Parent From a Child Support Obligation

What Constitutes Emancipation to Release a Parent From a Child Support Obligation

What Constitutes Emancipation to Release a Parent From a Child Support Obligation

Guarantee Official PayPal Seal Facebook Twitter Versign Secure Site