While it is no secret that divorce can be difficult and painful, some people take it to extremes. The term Malicious Parent Syndrome describes abnormal behavior that occurs during a divorce where one parent attempts to punish the other parent with various actions. Unfortunately, children often suffer as a result of this behavior. 

It is important to understand this is not a recognized mental condition, but it is a phenomenon that may have legal consequences if taken too far. 

What is Malicious Parent Syndrome? 

According to FindLaw, there are four important characteristics of Malicious Parent Syndrome. 

  1. Your ex lies to your children and others about you in an attempt to make you look bad 
  2. Your ex tries to keep your involvement in your children’s lives limited to punish you 
  3. Your ex deliberately denies communication or visitation between you and your children 
  4. Your ex does not have a mental illness that could explain this behavior 

Malicious Parent Syndrome could lead to legal consequences 

It is easy to understand how these behaviors can quickly cross the line any become civil or criminal violations. If a malicious parent lies about you under oat, for example, in an attempt to make you look bad to the law, they are committing perjury. If your ex tries to deny you visitation with your children despite a court-ordered visitation schedule, he or she is illegally interfering with your parenting time. Additionally, defamation charges may occur as a result of lying about your character or actions to other people. Some of these behaviors may even be grounds to gain custody of your children from your ex.