Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: ” I’m considering separating from my spouse; what actions should I refrain from doing?”
Parental alienation is often caused by the actions of an ex-partner and, in some cases, may not even be intentional. However, it is fairly common to see various instances of what can be interpreted as alienation from your ex-partner. For instance, they might tell your kids that you do not love them anymore, or that they are no longer safe with you. There may also be more subtle actions on the part of your ex-partner, too, such as going to your child’s school or extracurricular activities without first inviting you.
What Exactly is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation occurs when one parent tries to alienate (that is, turn them against) or separate a child from their other parent, whether deliberately or unintentionally. In essence, one parent attempts to turn the children against the other. Sadly, the child learns to resent or despise the other parent over time as a result of the alienating parent’s actions.
Common Signs of Parental Alienation
After separation, it is surprisingly common for alienation to occur. Generally, this is presented indirectly, often through unintentional comments. They can also be presented on purpose, though, through comments and actions on the part of one parent.
Some signs that your partner may be turning your children against you include:
- Your child has more or only negative opinions of you. In these cases, the child may even deny past positive experiences with you, due to the alienation.
- Your child gets angry with you easily. This can be one of the most noticeable signs in case of suffering from alienation. For example, your child will be angry with you for small or nonsensical things.
- Your child sees you as the bad parent and your former partner as a good parent. This can be seen in situations where either authority is required (or an argument occurs), and the child immediately sides with your ex-partner.
- Your child becomes distant and rude toward you. If your child is hostile towards you, your family, or your friends –and also shows no remorse for hurting anyone’s feelings — they may be suffering from alienation.
It is important that we keep an eye out for these types of signals and behavior on the part of children. In most cases, they may deny the influence of the other parents to either defend or protect them, even if the alienation is clearly obvious.
What Can I Do to Resolve Parental Alienation?
If you suspect your partner may be trying to alienate your child, it is important to take appropriate action. The first thing you should do is speak with a family lawyer. They can help you establish the best course of action to take. One action they may recommend is to request a formal hearing to present the case.
Although there are no direct legal repercussions, alienation can often be dealt with in court. The parent can provide the judge with a detailed explanation of the child’s behavior change. This will help the judge decide on a new custody arrangement based on the child’s needs. A mental health professional may be present to determine the alienation case, as well.
Is Your Co-Parent Trying to Alienate You From Your Child?
It is important to act immediately if you suspect a case of child alienation, especially since it can have severe long-term psychological consequences. We here at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, can help you better understand your rights as a parent so you can maintain a healthy relationship with your child. Get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.
The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.
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