Virginia parents who are going through the divorce process may be interested in new research that shows that fathers are sometimes favored over mothers in custody battles, even if the father has been accused of or found guilty of sexual or physical abuse. In fact, it is estimated that around 58,000 children are left unsupervised with an abusive parent when they are placed in their custody. Some states are trying to change laws in order to protect children and help mothers who know about abuse to get custody of their children.

Part of the reason why fathers are often granted custody despite abuse allegations or being found guilty of abuse is because of accusations of parental alienation syndrome. This may be exhibited by a child who is driven by one parent to hate the other parent.

One researcher looked at more than 2,000 study cases that involved domestic abuse, child abuse and parental alienation across the country. The research showed that if a mother was accused of alienation, her chances of losing custody of her children doubled.

Part of the reason why these cases are so common is because of hearsay evidence that enters the courtroom and is allowed by judges. Additionally, long-held beliefs are pervasive among attorneys, judges and others in the field regarding parental alienation syndrome.

Parents who are concerned about their children being placed under the care of an abusive parent may wish to speak with a family law attorney. The attorney may be able to provide information about the parent’s rights and how to get the best outcome in court if it is necessary, perhaps arguing for their fitness as a parent. The attorney may also be able to provide information about child support and visitation and even draw up necessary documents.