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What is malicious parent syndrome and how can you recognize it?

Divorcing your spouse in Indiana is a stressful process, especially if you have children. If your ex-spouse engages in behavior intended to harm your relationship with your children and/or your reputation in the community, it can quickly become a nightmare scenario in which you are the victim of malicious parent syndrome. 

According to FindLaw, despite the name, medical and psychiatric professionals do not currently recognize malicious parent syndrome as a mental disorder. The term came about when a psychologist noticed and sought to describe a destructive pattern of behavior during divorce court cases in which one parent purposefully behaves vengefully toward the other during the proceedings, sometimes going so far as to engage in illegal activity, in the absence of a psychological disorder that could explain the behavior. 

Malicious parent syndrome describes a specific set of behaviors. A malicious parent may seek to interfere with your involvement in your children's school activities or deny your children visitation or communication with you. She may try to damage your reputation both in the eyes of the community and with your children by telling lies about you or making false accusations of abuse. In extreme cases, a malicious parent may deprive or cause harm to your children and blame you for the resulting injury. Such a parent may also take a more direct approach by damaging your property or launching a physical attack against you.

While originally known as malicious mother syndrome, these destructive actions intended to make the other parent look bad are not exclusive to either mothers or fathers. Anyone who has been the victim of the malicious parent pattern of behaviors has the right to seek legal recourse. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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