Are You the Victim of Parental Alienation?
Has your ex alienated you from your children?
If you are a parent going through a marital dissolution or custody case, you are probably facing many emotionally challenging issues related to child custody. This is true whether you are just beginning the process of filing, or whether the issue of custody and visitation has been resolved.
Whatever the stage of the custody or visitation process, if you find that your child is beginning to act differently, and sometimes in a strange manner, in terms of his or her relationship towards you, this may be what is legally defined as “parental alienation.”
Parental alienation occurs when one parent, typically the primary caregiver, prevents or interferes with access to, or talks negatively or derogatorily about the other parent, so as to taint the child’s opinion or behavior towards the other parent. An experienced lawyer can help you stem the flow of alienating behavior by the other parent before things go too far.
Signs of Potential Alienation
It is not uncommon for a custody battle to leave parents feeling bitter regarding the outcome of their situation. In some cases, parents feel the need to express their disdain through negative comments aimed at their children regarding the other parent. The practice can evolve into a sort of battle, whereby the children’s words work as weapons aiming daggers at the opposing parent’s heart.
One sign of parental alienation is when children show an abrupt change of heart, such as disliking or hating a parent all of a sudden. Sometimes there are other factors to blame, such as abuse or a reaction to the changes following the divorce overall. In other cases, it is due primarily to the negative comments from the other parent. If you suspect that negative commentary is causing your child to experience parental alienation, contact a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your legal options as soon as possible.
The following are some of the alienation behaviors your child may be exhibiting:
- Seems to imitate the alienating parent as though the child lacks ability to think independently
- Begins to blame you exclusively for the parental break up
- Begins to call you names
- Seems to feel guilty for showing you any affection
- Is suddenly withdrawn or avoids you for no reason
- Reacts apathetically regarding their cruel treatment of you
- Announces that they also hate any or all of your relatives
Tips for Avoiding Alienation
First and foremost, if there has been a history of negative dialogue regarding you between the other parent and your child(ren), or by a significant other, or other family members, you will want to be sure to advise your attorney regarding this prior to a custody or visitation determination. That way, your attorney can ensure that there is a statement in the order regarding the other parent’s obligation to not speak negatively of you in the presence of the child(ren).
It is important to have not only the documentation, but by having this in place, you may be able to get a contempt order, should the other parent not follow these guidelines. Additional options include potentially requiring the other parent to undergo counseling or some other sort of program to work on co-parenting communication.
Contact an Attorney for Help
Do you need an attorney to help you with a parental alienation case in Nassau County? The attorneys at Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C. fervently believe that parental alienation is harmful, and we discourage our own clients from engaging in this negative behavior. It not only impacts the child’s perception of you, but may lead to far greater issues with your co-parenting arrangement. Children need both of their parents in their lives when possible, and estrangement only hurts children.
When you hire our firm, you can rest assured that we will do whatever we can to ensure that you are not being alienated from your child.