What Is Parental Alienation?
Getting a divorce is hard. Getting a divorce that involves children is even harder. Children always make the divorce process much more emotional and contentious, as neither parent generally wants to face the fact that they will spend less time with them. Some parents go to great extremes to hurt their spouse in child custody matters, and that includes alienating their children from the other parent. Parental alienation is largely misunderstood, as it has been a term that has only been around for the past decade or so. Below, our Brentwood child custody attorney explains what parental alienation is, and how to determine if it is occurring.
What is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation occurs when a parent manipulates their child to reject their other parent, whether it is out of fear, hatred, or disrespect. No one should ever speak badly about the other parent in front of their child. After divorce, both parents should continue to encourage a strong relationship with the other parent. Still, this does not mean that one untoward thing said off-hand constitutes parental alienation.
Unfortunately, many parents learn during the divorce process that the courts look very unfavorably upon people who alienate their child from the other parent. Some take advantage of this and use it to argue that their spouse is engaging in parental alienation when that is not the case. Parents who argue parental alienation have a high burden of proof to show that it occurred, so it is important both sides know what the court will consider.
What the Courts Consider in Parental Alienation Cases
The courts do take parental alienation very seriously and so, they will take many factors into consideration when determining if it has occurred. These factors are as follows:
- Whether the child has supported one parent strongly over the other and has broken a relationship with the other parent without valid reason
- Whether the child offers frivolous, weak, or unreasonable rationalizations for persistently rejecting the other parent
- Any denial from the child that they once had good times and happy experiences with the parent in question
- Whether a child automatically sides with one parent regardless of what they do or say
- Whether a child uses the same language as the parent they are allied with when speaking about the other parent
- Whether the child has become hostile towards the friends and family members of the alienated parent
- Whether the child shows remorse, or a lack thereof, for the hurt feelings they have caused their alienated parent
Our Child Custody Attorney in Brentwood Can Handle Your Difficult Situation
Whether you fear your former spouse is alienating your child from you, or you have to defend against claims of it, our Brentwood child custody attorney can help. At Beal, Nations & Crutcher, our seasoned attorneys are dedicated to helping people through one of the most difficult times of their life, and we can help you, too. Call us now at 615-861-2304 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.