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Recognizing Parental Alienation During a Child Custody Dispute

Posted on in Child Custody and Visitation

CA child custody lawyerDuring divorce, spouses may feel some animosity toward each other, which is to be expected when a relationship has fallen apart. Unfortunately, the fallout from the breakup of a marriage can also affect the children of divorcing parents, and in some cases, a parent will actively attempt to harm their children’s relationship with the other parent in hopes of influencing the outcome of child custody disputes. This is known as parental alienation, and it can be incredibly damaging to children’s mental health and well-being. During a contentious divorce case, parents should watch for the warning signs of this type of behavior and seek legal help when necessary.

Types of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation can take many forms, including:

Criticism or disparagement of the other parent - If a child becomes argumentative or speaks negatively about one parent, this may be a sign that the other parent has been attempting to influence children by making disparaging comments or laying blame for familial or financial difficulties.

Sharing inappropriate information with children - While children will likely have questions about their parents’ divorce, parents should speak to them about their breakup in an age-appropriate manner. If children seem to know intimate or inappropriate details about the end of their parents’ relationship, this is a sign that a parent has been discussing the divorce with them in an improper manner.

Spying on the other parent - Parents should respect each other’s parenting time and privacy. If children regularly want to know details about a parent’s personal life, such as who they are dating, this may be a sign that the other parent is asking them to spy for them. Parents should also be aware of whether the other parent is listening in on children’s phone calls or monitoring electronic communication.

Failure to inform the other parent about children’s activities or needs - Parents should keep each other informed about children’s medical and educational needs and the activities they are participating in. If parental alienation is suspected, parents should check to make sure they have not been removed as a contact with children’s schools or doctors, and they should make sure they are invited to parent-teacher conferences, doctor appointments, and children’s events.

Asking children to choose between parents - Decisions about which parent children will spend time with should not be left up to children. If children exhibit anxiety about spending parenting time with a parent or act as if they do not want to see a parent, this may be a sign that the other parent has asked them to make a choice between parents or told them that a parent does not want to spend time with them.

Contact a Los Gatos Divorce Lawyer

Parental alienation can cause a great deal of emotional distress to both children and parents, and it can significantly impact children’s relationships with both parents. If you suspect that your ex-spouse is attempting to alienate your children against you, it is important to work with an attorney who can protect your parental rights and advocate for your children’s best interests. Contact a Los Gatos, CA family law attorney at the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca to learn how we can help. Call 408-395-8822 to schedule a free consultation.



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