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How Can I Prove Parental Alienation?
Custody battles are difficult and emotional for all members of the family. Regardless of the outcome, at least one parent will believe they “lost” the right to be with their children. The children may feel guilty, angry, or anxious about the result of the custody case.
Some parents will do anything to “win” a custody battle. They believe that the ends justify the means. A parent may go as far as using their children as pawns to obtain the result they desire.
Parents who engage in manipulation and parental alienation can cause severe trauma and emotional distress for their children. The damages caused by parental alienation could continue into adulthood.
What is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation is the act of turning children against a parent. The other parent effectively uses the children as weapons in a divorce or custody case.
A parent may lie to a child to make a child think the other parent does not love or care about them. The parent may go as far as interfering or blocking visitation and communication to make the lie more believable.
Parental alienation is usually not motivated by the child’s best interest or a parent’s desire to have full custody. The conduct is generally motivated by hatred of the other parent.
Signs That Your Children Are Being Alienated
You may not notice the signs of parental alienation until it is too late. Your spouse may use subtle manipulation to turn your children against you. However, there are some signs you can watch for to identify parental alienation and stop it before it harms your children.
Signs of parental alienation include:
Your child “parrots” the other parent, especially about negative feelings about you
Your children complain that you are abusive, cruel, or unreasonable when you use realistic and acceptable forms of discipline to enforce rules
Your child rejects anyone associated with you, such as your parents, siblings, cousins, friends, etc.
Your children refuse to obey you or follow the rules you establish in your home
You children only listen to their other parent and point out that their other parent is better than you
Your child refuses or resists visitation, including pitching tantrums or demanding to go back home
Older children schedule activities when they should be with you or always have other obligations that are more pressing than visitation
When you bring up good memories, your child refuses to acknowledge them and views everything about your relationship with them as negative
Teachers, coaches, and other adults in your child’s life begin to distance themselves from you and only deal with your child’s other parent
Parental alienation can result in the loss of your parental rights. You should take the matter very seriously. A child custody lawyer can help you take steps to fight parental alienation to help you retain your rights and protect your children from an emotionally and mentally abusive parent.
Do Courts Recognize Parental Alienation?
Florida courts believe that both parents should remain active participants in their child’s life. Judges encourage parents to work together to develop and implement a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule that fosters a close relationship with both parents.
If a parent proves that the other parent has engaged in parental alienation, the judge will consider that factor when determining custody. The child’s best interest is the top priority in a custody case. Suppose a parent manipulates a child and attempts to separate the child from the other parent without a valid reason. In that case, the judge may find the parent acted against the child’s best interest.
Steps you should take now if you believe that your child’s other parent is engaging in parental alienation:
Contact a child custody lawyer immediately to discuss your legal rights and options for seeking custody
Maintain logs of every attempt you make to visit with or contact your child
Keep records of all activities or functions you attend with your child or for the benefit of your child
Make pictures of you and your child during visitation and activities
Contact your child’s teachers, school, and activity providers to ensure that you receive notice of all events
Create a log of all conversations you have with your child’s other parent
Keep copies of all written or electronic communication with your child and your child’s other parent
Create a list of witnesses who can testify about your relationship with your child and the attempts of parental alienation by your child’s other parent
Taking control of the situation as soon as possible is the best way to fight parental alienation. A divorce lawyer can help you develop a strategy to reveal the attempts by your child’s other parent to alienate you from your child’s life.