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Parental Alienation

parental alienationParental alienation occurs when a child of divorcing parents becomes allies with one parent while rejecting the affection of the other parent. This form of alienation happens in divorces that are contested, and when one parent is unable to let go of their anger towards the other party. The child may even refuse to visit the other parent, who is generally the parent that does not have primary custody. In a highly contentious divorce, parental alienation is a common occurrence.

Best Interest of the Children Should be the Focus

When two parents begin fighting over child custody, no one is going to win. It’s important to keep in mind what is in the best interest of the child. When custody battles get out of hand, the child in the middle always loses. If one parent tries to alienate the child from the other parent, they may end up losing custody completely. The driving force behind parental alienation is generally anger towards the other parent, and it’s important to get a parenting plan settled right away to try to stop any alienation before it starts.

Signs of Parental Alienation

In an extreme case, a child who refuses to visit the parent they are not allied with is clearly indicative of parental alienation. In less severe cases, the child may be resistant to go to visits, angry about visits, or they might blame the parent they are upset with for causing the divorce. While there may be some legitimate reasons that the child is angry or upset with the alienated parent, this type of situation should be carefully addressed to ensure that the child has the benefit of being parented by both parents in the future.

The child may express feelings of anger that are incongruent with their affect, or be unable to really explain why they are upset with the alienated parent. When the relationship between an alienated parent and a child begins to break down, it’s critical to begin repairing the relationship before both people are completely lost to each other.

How to Prove Parental Alienation

If you have missed visits with your child, or your former spouse has been making degrading comments about you to your child, make sure that you document everything. Your child deserves to be raised by both parents, and their very development may depend on it. You should write down all attempts to keep you from your child, including any missed phone calls or visits that have happened. The courts will look at your relationship with your child, how involved you are and have been in their life, and when the child is older, their personal preference regarding who they want to live with. If you have been alienated from your child, you can file a motion requesting family therapy to address your concerns.

With family therapy in place, you should be able to restore your relationship with your child, at least to the degree that there isn’t total alienation. Through working with a family therapist, you and your former spouse should be able to work out a parenting plan and work together to avoid poisoning the child against each other.

When you put your child in the middle of a custody battle and a bitter divorce, no one wins. While you may be very angry at your ex for trying to alienate you from your child, the best you can do is to continue to move forward. Remember that your child is what matters most. It doesn’t matter what your ex does with their time, as long as the stop trying to get between you and your child. As long as your child is safe in their care, you need to focus on what goes on in your own home.

If you are struggling with a former spouse because you are in the middle of  a custody battle, you are not alone. Many people going through a divorce find that deciding on custody is the hardest part, and parents can be so angry with one another, that they forget that the children are stuck in the middle. When you are fighting with an ex about child custody and you don’t know what to do, it’s time to speak with the qualified attorneys at Infinity Law Group who can give you the advice you need to move forward.