Parental Alienation

In a contested child custody case, one parent may engage in behavior that manipulates the child’s feelings towards the other parent. Parental alienation can have a long-term impact on these important relationships. An experienced family law attorney can evaluate these issues or respond to serious allegations relating to alienation.

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Child Custody Cases with Parental Alienation

As family lawyers, we see all too often that the children are put in the middle of their parents’ disputes. One or both parents can engage in alienating behaviors. The behavior can be as subtle as taking down pictures of the other parent a child may have in her room. In more extreme circumstances, a parent can manipulate a child into thinking that the other parent is dangerous. This can lead to irrational fears on the part of the child and outright hostility towards the alienated parent.

The degree and cause of estrangement varies greatly from case to case. In some cases, there may be a good reason for the child to fear a parent. In others, it arises because one parent intentionally interferes with the other parent’s relationship with the child.

Whatever your situation, an experienced lawyer can you evaluate these difficult issues.

Dealing with Alienation in a Custody Case

Where one parent is engaging in alienating behaviors, there are several approaches to addressing the problem. These are some options we often see:

  • Child Custody Evaluation. A court can order a neutral, third-party professional to perform a child custody evaluation. This involves an extensive investigation into the child’s circumstances and can include psychological evaluations of the parents and children. The evaluation can specifically target alienation issues and make recommendations to the court.
  • Hiring a Consulting Expert. There is some professional disagreement about the best method to identify parental alienation and the best way to fix it. However, it may be helpful to hire a person with expertise to help understand the dynamics and assist with preparing the case.
  • Injunctions. A court can sign an order called an “injunction.” An injunction will order a parent to refrain from behaviors such as making disparaging remarks about the other parent in front of the child.
  • Changing Custody. In the most extreme cases involving alienation, the only solution may be to switch where the children live and limit the alienating parent’s contact with the children.

Our knowledgeable and experienced team of family lawyers stand ready to assist you if parental alienation allegations are present in your case.

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