Overprotective Parenting – Impact on Child Custody Proceedings

The November isse of the American Bar Association Journal had an interesting article on overprotective parents.  The article says that psychologists are concerned that overprotective parents often leave a child without an independent outlet.  Interestingly, from a legal perspective in a child custody case overprotective parenting can result in two very different outcomes.  On one hand, a court and evaluator may reward the overprotective parent as the primary caregiver and the parent who has historically spent more time with the child, by awarding that parent sole custody and majority parenting time.  On the other hand, where the overprotection falls closer to parental alienation towards the other parent, the court may award custody to the other parent and limit the overprotective parent’s parenting time since one of the factors the court considers per ORS 107.137 is “The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child.”  It is important to have an attorney in your child custody matter who can properly frame the facts to fit within the legal framework so that you can obtain the best result for your child.

About Daniel Margolin

Daniel Margolin is a founding partner of Stephens & Margolin LLP and a Portland, Oregon native. His practice focuses on all aspects of family law litigation. Dan applies his litigation expertise to provide additional expertise when assisting clients with Family Law Appeals and Collaborative Divorce matters. To find out more or contact Daniel Margolin, visit Stephens & Margolin LLP
This entry was posted in Child Custody. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Overprotective Parenting – Impact on Child Custody Proceedings

  1. The article was interesting but I’ve found that it’s hard for court officials to see the difference, especially when it’s fathers that are ousted on these terms. It appears that the father simply doesn’t want to be in their child’s life when in reality the mother may be withholding information or giving false information so the father can’t appear at sporting or school events, doesn’t inform him of doctor appts, etc. We teach our clients to always go to the source for information, whether it’s coaches, doctors, or teachers so they aren’t relying on their ex. It’s hard to do sometimes because everyone wants to believe their ex will do what is right for their child.

    Of course a lot of this could be helped if courts enforced visitation orders and the facilitation of promoting a healthy relationship with the non-custodial parent or ordered shared parenting with equal time.

    • admin says:

      That is a very astute observation. From a lawyer perspective it is crucial that the information is conveyed properly to both the court and any custody evaluator. In a perfect world courts would do exactly as you say with respect to enforcing visitation orders in a way that promotes healthy relationships. The problem is that courts have limited tools to carry out that concept.

  2. Sean says:

    And as a father going through a separation, one of the most difficult things to deal with is the usual response of “but you are the father, not the mother”. As if by some strange quirk, because I am “just the father”, I’ve done something wrong (it’s *obviously* my fault the whole thing started anyways).

    I’m a protective father. Not over-protective (I don’t think!), but what is the definition of “over-protective”? When she is walking up and down the steps to the loft, I call out “careful on those steps!”, but I certainly don’t run over and hold her hand on the way down.

    Also, I’m curious about how “germaphobe” comes in to play here. Those folks who are so germaphobic that their house is 100% spotless, which can cause a lack of anti-bodies to fight germs and illnesses.

    • admin says:

      Sean. In order to address the germaphobe issue that you raise there would have to be expert witness testimony. Even though judges are not supposed to use their personal biases and just listen to testimony this would also depend on the views of the judge of the case.

  3. Overprotective parents smother their children and ultimately stunt the child’s development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *