Child custody disputes can be nasty. In some instances, parents end up flinging mud at each other to see what sticks in hopes of securing the child custody and visitation arrangement that they think is best. This is a dangerous tactic that can be harmful to everyone involved, including the child, and it oftentimes causes parents to lose focus on what’s most important: the child’s best interests. But in some cases it’s clear that a child’s parent is going to do whatever they can to get what they want. This might include parental alienation.
What is parental alienation?
In its simplest terms, parental alienation is the process through which one parent manipulates a child in order to distance him or her from the other parent. Some people refer to it as brainwashing or programming. Parental alienation can occur in a number of ways, too. A parent might simply tell a child false information about the other parent, such as that they have a drug problem or that they were a domestic abuser. Or a child’s other parent might schedule fun activities during a time when the child is supposed to be visiting with the alienated parent, thereby breeding resentment when the alienated parent chooses to visit with the child instead of allowing him or her to forego visitation to partake in that activity.
Dealing with parental alienation in your case
Parental alienation is still gaining traction in the mental health field, with many experts signing on to its legitimacy. And the courts are increasingly receptive to arguments based on parental alienation. In order to succeed on one of these arguments, though, you need to know how to gather evidence and present your arguments in a compelling fashion. This might mean documenting every exchange with your child and your child’s other parent, and even having your child evaluated by a mental health professional.
There are a lot of avenues to take in these cases, which is why it’s important that you know your options. If you’d like to discuss the facts of your situation with an attorney to figure out where you stand and what the best path forward is, then now may be the best time for you to reach out to an advocate you can trust to handle your case with care, compassion, and aggression.