A Michigan judge recently ordered three children to spend time in juvenile detention due to their refusal to spend time with their father. This is not a common practice in Ohio or in any other state, so the judge’s decision was a surprise to many. The father of the three children is now fighting for custody, sources say.
The man claims that the mother of the children, who has been the custodial parent, has been a “constant roadblock” regarding his relationship with the children. The father is now alleging that she is an unfit parent based on her alleged mental health problems.
After the case stirred controversy when the children were ordered to juvenile detention for refusing to see their father, the children were released to attend summer camp. The man has alleged that the mother has alienated the children from him, despite his diligent efforts to see them. The family had lived in Israel until the mother moved to Michigan with the children and later filed for divorce.
Parental alienation is a common issue in child custody disputes. Most judges discourage it because the primary factor in a child custody determination is the children’s best interests. That is why this judge’s decision to jail the children was so unusual. If a judge believes that one parent is improperly influencing the children against the other parent, most judges will punish the parent who is responsible for this, not the children.
Depending upon their age, a child’s preference can be considered by a court in making decisions about child custody. A family law attorney may be of assistance where parental alienation is occurring by explaining to the judge what is really going on within the family and arguing on behalf of the client.