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What Is Parental Alienation, and How Does it Affect Child Custody?

 Posted on July 19, 2023 in Child Custody

Untitled-49.jpgParental alienation describes a situation in which a parent attempts to manipulate or influence a child to view the other parent negatively or take sides in disputes between parents. These actions can take place during a bitter divorce or child custody battle. This behavior can have a detrimental impact on a child’s relationship with both of their parents and their overall well-being. In fact, parental alienation can be so detrimental to a child that it is considered child abuse in some cases. A parent will need to understand how they can address this type of behavior by an ex-spouse or ex-partner, and they may need to take legal action to ensure that their child’s best interests will be protected.

What Exactly Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation can take many forms, including speaking negatively about the other parent in front of the child, limiting contact or visitation with the other parent, or falsely claiming that the parent has engaged in abuse or neglect of the child. The purpose of parental alienation is to create a sense of loyalty or alliance with the alienating parent and damage the other parent’s relationship with the child. A parent may purposely engage in alienation in hopes of influencing decisions about child custody, or they may act in ways that harm the child’s relationship with the other parent, such as by blaming them for the couple’s divorce, complaining about their behavior, or undermining their authority when addressing child-related issues. 

How Parental Alienation Can Affect Children

Parental alienation can have a profound and long-lasting impact on a child. When subjected to relentless negative comments about the other parent or other behaviors that cause them to unfairly favor one parent over the other, children may develop a distorted view of reality. This can lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and confusion, as well as a damaged sense of self-worth. Children who are unable to have positive relationships with both parents will often suffer emotionally, and they may encounter struggles in their home lives, their relationships with friends and family members, and their education.

Legal Consequences of Parental Alienation

Family courts recognize the detrimental effects of parental alienation, and judges will strive to protect children's best interests. When there is evidence of alienating behavior, the court may modify child custody or parenting time arrangements to ensure the child's well-being and promote a healthy relationship with both parents. If there is evidence that a parent has acted in ways that interfered with the other parent’s relationship with their child, the alienating parent may face restrictions, such as a reduction in their amount of parenting time or the requirement to have supervised visitation.

Proving Parental Alienation

Demonstrating that parental alienation has occurred can be challenging, as it often relies on testimonies from children, witness accounts, and expert evaluations. If you believe that your ex has attempted to alienate your children against you, it is crucial to gather as much evidence as possible to support your claims. This may include documented instances of interference with visitation, text messages or emails demonstrating negative messaging, and testimonies from witnesses who have observed the alienating behavior. 

Seeking Legal Help

If you believe that your child is a victim of parental alienation, an experienced family law attorney can help you determine how to proceed. The lawyers of Farooqi & Husain Law Office can provide you with representation during legal proceedings, help gather evidence of alienation, and advocate for solutions that will protect your rights and provide for your child’s best interests. Our skilled attorneys can also assist in developing a parenting plan that promotes a good relationship between the child and both parents while addressing any concerns related to parental alienation. 

Approaching the Issue With Sensitivity

It is important to always ensure that your child's best interests are your top priority. While it may be tempting to respond to the other parent’s alienating behavior with anger or retaliation, it is crucial to maintain a calm and rational approach. Responding to improper behavior by refusing to allow the other parent to spend time with the child or attempting to limit contact between the child and parent could lead to consequences that could affect your own child custody rights. Focus on providing a stable and loving environment for your child. You may also want to seek professional help, such as therapy or counseling, to support your child’s emotional well-being during this challenging time.

Contact Our DuPage County Child Custody Lawyers

Parental alienation is damaging behavior that can significantly impact child custody arrangements. It is crucial to recognize the signs of parental alienation and take appropriate legal action to protect the well-being of the child. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, our Oakbrook Terrace child custody modification attorneys can help you understand the best approach to take when dealing with these issues. We will work with you to determine how you can resolve disputes and ensure that your child will be able to have a healthy and loving relationship with you going forward. Contact us today at 630-909-9114 to set up a consultation and learn how we can assist with your family law needs.



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