In Australia, the family court is often a place of last resort for parents who cannot agree about the ongoing custody of the child. It's a place where the hard rule of law is intended to be applied, when the court takes all the facts into consideration and hears the case for both sides.
However, it's very difficult to litigate emotions, and rightly or wrongly, these can spill over in the months that follow any kind of judgement. It's quite possible that one of the parents will be unhappy with any outcome and may take steps into their own hands to try and put the matter straight. What is the risk of taking this type of approach?
Frequently, emotions will get the better of one parent if they feel that they are not being allowed a sufficient amount of access or are beginning to feel "distant" from the child. In this case, they may try and sour the opinion of the child in relation to the other parent. They may feel as if this approach would make the child want to be with them more in the long run.
However, the courts are very well aware of this type of behaviour and it is deemed "parental alienation." Some countries around the world have actually criminalised this type of behaviour, but in Australia the courts do have the option of amending previous decisions, if needed.
Some medical experts believe that this situation can lead to the development of a psychological condition in a child and this is being termed parental alienation syndrome. In short, the manipulative behaviour of one of the parents could cause extreme anxiety in the child, leading to psychological disturbance.
Duties and Obligations
Under the law, the parent that has been granted primary custody has to ensure that the other parent has enough access, to build up a meaningful relationship in the best interests of the child. The court will take a dim view if the other parent tries to emotionally manipulate the child to win favours. It's not unheard of for residence to be transferred, should the courts deem that there is an unacceptable risk of harm to the child.
If you suspect that the other parent is trying to influence your child in such a way, then you need to take action. Bring your thoughts and findings to a lawyer specialising in family matters, so that the case can be brought in front of the family court if needed.