What Can a Judge Do When The 13-Year-Old Child in a Custody Case Who Was a Victim of Parental Alienation Says They Want to Live in a Foster Home?

Your question presumes that the judge heard from the child. In many cases (frankly most), even though the child has the greatest stake in the child custody award dispute, the child is “protected” from being heard on the subject (don’t get me started on why this is all kinds of foolishness). 

But if the court has heard from the child as to his experiences and desires and the reasons for those desires, the next question is whether the court believes the child’s testimony. If the court does not believe the child, then the judge will not do anything in response to what the child desires. 

But if the court believes the child’s testimony, that the child’s desires are sensible and worthwhile, and that the child needs the court’s help to achieve the child’s desires, then the court can issue orders designed to achieve those ends. 

The degree of parental alienation caused by one or both of the child’s parents would, however, have to be hellish for a court to find that it is preferable to subject a child to all the risks of physical and psychological harm associated with the general hell of foster care, rather than to keep the child in the custody of one or both of the child’s own parents. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277  

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