Parental alienation is a form of child abuse. It is an attempt by an adult in a child’s life – typically, but not always, one of the child’s parents – to destroy the child’s relationship with one of his or her parents. It can arise in contentious divorces where one parent wants to have sole custody of the child and uses this tactic to have the other parent’s role in the child’s life eliminated or significantly diminished.
In most cases, both parents have a right to maintain a relationship with their child. Multiple factors are considered when determining a parenting plan for a child, one of which may be the child’s preference.
Parents and other adults can alienate a child to the child’s other parent intentionally or without realizing they are doing it. Adults in the latter category might alienate a child from a parent through their expression of their own frustrations with the parent and positive reinforcement of the child’s validating responses.
A few examples of ways an adult can alienate a child to the child’s parent include:
Parental alienation as a medical disorder is a debated topic in the mental health community. When a parent alleges that is it present in his or her relationship with a child, it is treated like any other allegation of child abuse – the parent must prove that it is occurring and that it has a harmful effect on the child in order for it to be considered grounds for modifying a parenting plan.
Discuss your concerns with your lawyer and gather evidence to support your claim that your child is facing parental alienation from another adult.
This could be evidence that proves claims of abuse and neglect to be untrue, evidence that shows sudden changes in the child’s behavior or relationships with various adults in his or her life, and evidence showing a pattern of harassment from the party causing the alienation.
If you suspect another adult, whether it is your former spouse or another adult in your child’s life, is attempting to alienate you from your child, take action now. Document anything you feel is relevant to support your claim and discuss it with an experienced family lawyer to determine the appropriate action to take. Contact our team at Women’s Divorce & Family Law Group today to set up your free legal consultation with us.
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