Pennsylvania legislators are paying attention to the problem of parental alienation. In some high-conflict divorces and after an award of sole custody, a parent may attempt to turn a child against his or her ex-spouse. The potentially debilitating developmental effects of parental alienation have raised concerns both globally and here in the U.S.

The perhaps unconsciously vindictive actions of an ex-spouse may effectively push the noncustodial parent out of a child’s life. As reported by Pittsburgh Parent, lawmakers in the Keystone State are reviewing legislation supportive of post-divorce shared parenting.

Winner-take-all custody awards may lead to behavioral disorders

A 150,000-person study conducted by the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health demonstrated that shared parenting lowers children’s stress levels. Equal-time relationships can provide children with a more developmentally responsive and secure environment, according to recommendations published by more than 30 experts in family law.

As noted by MentalHealth.net, children caught in the middle of a high-conflict divorce tend to develop distorted or impaired relationships with their peers. They may find themselves unprepared to deal with future relationships in a healthy or meaningful way after enduring the events and words associated with an acrimonious divorce. Parents making their way through a high-conflict break-up may serve their children’s best interests by learning to be better communicators and not demonizing their soon-to-be ex-spouse.

Laws supporting shared parenting reflect the research in their favor

More than 20 states have considered shared-parenting legislation, according to the Washington Post. Divorced parents would spend as much equal time as possible with their children as a result of the laws under review. Some states have already enacted reforms and demonstrated that a judge-ordered shared-parenting model can help prevent parental alienation and its ill effects on children.

Collaborative divorce arrangements may serve the best interests of young children

Rather than engaging in a high-conflict courtroom battle, a collaborative approach to divorce can be a much less painful experience for young children as well as parents. Prospective co-parents should take the effort to consider what post-divorce arrangements will be in the best interests of both them and their children.