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Arizona judge rules parental alienation is abuse

In a groundbreaking case that may set a precedent for how courts address parental alienation as abuse, a young mother, Amanda Diacos, successfully regained custody of her daughter after demonstrating to the court that her ex had engaged in behavior constituting parental alienation. This case, discussed in detail on the Modern Divorce Podcast with attorney Billie Tarascio, highlights the complexities of parental alienation and offers hope and a blueprint for parents facing similar challenges.

Understanding Parental Alienation

Parental alienation occurs when one parent manipulates a child to turn them against the other parent without justification, often leading to the child’s estrangement from the alienated parent. This case illuminated the severe impact of such behavior on both the child and the alienated parent, framing it as a form of domestic abuse under Arizona statute.

The Case Unfolds

Amanda’s journey through the legal system began after a personal mistake led her ex to obtain emergency custody. What followed was a years-long battle where her ex engaged in deliberate efforts to alienate their daughter from Amanda. Despite these challenges, Amanda’s resilience and determination to fight for her daughter paved the way for a legal victory that not only reunited her with her daughter but also spotlighted the issue of parental alienation.

Key Insights from the Case

  • Alienation as Abuse: The judge’s ruling to classify the father’s alienation efforts as domestic violence is a significant legal precedent. This recognition opens doors for other parents to challenge similar alienation tactics effectively.
  • Evidence is Crucial: Amanda’s success was partly due to her comprehensive collection of evidence, which showcased the extent of the alienation and her ex’s refusal to comply with court orders regarding custody and parenting time.
  • Legal Representation Matters: Amanda emphasized the importance of having a skilled lawyer who understood the nuances of parental alienation and could navigate the legal system effectively.
  • The Child’s Best Interest: The court’s decision was guided by what was best for the child, considering the long-term impacts of alienation on the child’s emotional well-being and relationship with both parents.
  • A Message of Hope: Amanda’s story is a testament to the power of perseverance. Her advice to other parents facing alienation is to stay positive, keep meticulous records, and never give up the fight for their children.

Building a Path Forward

This case not only represents a personal victory for Amanda Diakos but also marks a critical step in acknowledging and addressing the profound effects of parental alienation in family law. It underscores the necessity of legal and social recognition of alienation as a form of abuse and the importance of protecting children’s rights to maintain healthy relationships with both parents post-divorce.

For parents experiencing the painful realities of parental alienation, Amanda’s story serves as hope that the legal system can work to uphold the best interests of the child, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.


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