Parental alienation is a term used to describe when one parent turns a child against the other parent. This generally results when one parent harbors resentment and bitterness toward another parent, influencing the child to feel the same way. Parental alienation is harmful for everyone involved, and it can result in serious and long-term psychological and emotional issues for the child.
Parental alienation may involve:
- Talking negatively about the other parent
- Telling the child what a terrible person the other parent is
- Blaming the other parent for the divorce
- Preventing the child from seeing the other parent
Signs of Parental Alienation
In order to determine if you are the victim of parental alienation, there are several warning signs you can look for:
- Your child seems to be on the other parent’s side. If the other parent is talking bad about you, your son or daughter may start to feel the same way. Aggressive, angry, and indifferent behavior toward you may be a sign that the other parent is compelling your child to think of you in a negative way.
- Your child knows more details than necessary about the divorce. If your child knows details about the divorce, such as financial matters, infidelity, or abuse, it may be a sign that the other parent is discussing these details with your child. It is inappropriate to talk about such sensitive matters with minor children, and your ex-spouse may be using these details to convince the child that you are to blame for the divorce.
- Your child is withheld from visitation. Another sign of parental alienation is when the other parent makes excuses to keep your child from court-ordered visitation time. Once parental alienation has gone on for a while, the child may also refuse to come visit you. Court-ordered visitation schedules must be upheld by both parties, and failure to comply may be a warning sign of parental alienation.
- Your child disagrees with you. Another sign of parental alienation is when your child seems to favor the other parent’s decisions over yours, and disagrees or argues with you often. Phrases like, “Mom lets me do this,” or “Dad says this way is better,” may show that your parental authority is being undermined.
What to Do If You Suspect Parental Alienation
If you suspect that you are the target of parental alienation, it is important to act quickly and to contact an experienced family law attorney who can help you determine if parental alienation is going on. A lawyer will guide you through the process of notifying the court of the parental alienation. The court will then create a custody and visitation plan that is in the best interests of the child, and take other actions as necessary.
Efficient Representation for Clients in New York City
Goldweber Epstein LLP has more than 30 years of experience in family law practice. Whatever your situation, our New York City family law attorneys will discuss your options and work tirelessly to protect the interests of you and your children.
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