How is Parental Alienation Defined During Divorce?

When you are going through a divorce, emotions are high. Not many of these emotions are good ones. It’s human to lash out emotionally to some degree, but every child visitation rights lawyer will tell you to be very careful about how and when you do so. Keep the emotions away from the child or children. Your negative emotions could have an impact that leads to something the court calls parental alienation. Or, you may be emotional that this is happening to you.

It’s possible. One study found that parental alienation occurs in 35.5 percent of American parents, and 32 percent of Canadian parents and 60 percent of those responding said there were clear problems of negative emotions on both sides of the parenting table.

Avoid alienating your child from your parent, or recognize it if it’s happening to you. Here’s how the court views this very serious problem during a divorce matter.

What is Parental Alienation?

This problem could become so severe that it becomes parental alienation syndrome. It is considered a serious violation by the court because it is a human rights violation to both the alienated parent and to the child or children in question. It is a form of violence that many experts call child abuse.

The court considers a parent to be alienated when the actions of one parent work to teach the child that the other parent is a “bad guy” or a bad person. The alienating parent tries to have the child turn away from the other parent.

The motive is clear. Kids get a choice when it comes to access and custody under the best interest of the child laws in almost every state.

A child visitation rights lawyer will say it’s not legal.

How do Children Feel During Alienation?

Parental alienation leads kids into depression, anxiety, and self-esteem problems, and it could scar them for life. It’s imperative that both parents understand this if they want to be successful in divorce and custody court. The court will see alienation if it happens, it walks through the courtroom doors every day in America.

Children have the right to love both parents equally, or as much as they want, even when one parent doesn’t want them to. It’s considered abusive or an abuse of trust if one parent uses that trust to manipulate a child into thinking poorly of the other parent.
In many cases, from the children’s perspective, it works against the alienator.

What are the Signs of Parental Alienation?

When the court is looking for parental alienation, as they will do in every high-conflict divorce matter, these are the circumstantial products they are looking for:

  • Unnecessary relationship details are discussed with the child or children. Does your 5-year-old really need to learn what cheating means now? No, says the court.
  • When the child is at the other parent’s home, they aren’t allowed to talk to mom or dad, excuses are given. “She was in the bath,” or “he was at a friend’s.”
  • An attempt to plan enticing events when it’s not their access time to draw the child away from the other parent: “Instead of staying at mom’s this week, we were wondering if you wanted to come to Disney with us.”
  • Existing custody orders are frequently broken or not complied with. This is seen in a lot of access motions that are brought to court a second time because one parent thinks the first custody order is the only one they will ever deal with. So they do whatever they want after that.
  • There’s a lot of secrecy. Does your child seem withdrawn or quieter after time at the other parents? They may be told to be quiet about everything.

Protect Your Children

Parental alienation is emotionally violent, and the court will not accept it at any time. It’s time to put away how awful this makes you feel, just for a second. As a parent, it’s your job to protect your kids from this awful behavior. Contact a child visitation rights lawyer in your area if your children are struggling with this devastating and abusive behavior.

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