Dealing with Parental Alienation

These are some of the worst cases in family law.  Parental alienation occurs when one parent psychologically and/or emotionally poisons the child against the other parent.  It can cause significant, sometime irreparable harm to the relationship between the child and the parent who’s being disparaged.

As much as you may hate the other spouse, you must find a way to deal with those emotions so as not to risk the parental alienation of your ex-spouse.  You’re literally depriving your child of a relationship with one of his/her parents.  Obviously, some divorces are high-conflict and full of emotion.  It’s an unfortunate fact.

The key to protecting your child, or children, is to remember that the divorce is between you and your partner.  The issues are often adult issues, and they should be kept in that arena.

Allowing the obvious anger and pain to be transferred to your children is a harmful action.  If you truly love your children, it’s important to maintain a focus on what’s best for them in the long-term.  Sometimes, this may mean accepting the fact that the child may want to have a relationship with the other parent, even though you don’t.

When parental alienation is involved, there’s also the risk that once the child has reached the age of 18, or later in life, he/she may begin spending more time with the alienated parent.  This can result in a potential backlash of emotion against you.  The child may actually resent you for having blocked or attempted to prevent interaction with the alienated parent.

If you feel you are being alienated, you should do your best to document the reasons.  Is the child parroting comments made by your ex, which were meant to be harmful?  Are there other signs and activities you observe?  Once you’ve compiled a list of examples, it may be a good idea to speak with your attorney, or possibly a therapist.

There’s a chance that your concerns are valid, but not as serious as they may appear.  On the other hand, you may have spotted serious red flags.  If this is the case, your attorney will need to address this either with the other side’s attorney, or through a formal petition to the court.

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