If most parents could have things their way, they’d never want to spend a night away from their child. Many moms and dads have to make the hard choice of going their separate ways after they’ve fought long and hard to make things work.
Many parents enter into a parenting plan soon after splitting. Reaching an agreement as to how to share a child isn’t easy. Parents unhappy with the agreement sometimes use their kids as pawns, thinking that will give them leverage against their ex-spouse. Doing so often creates more turmoil in their child’s life and puts the parent involved at risk of losing their custodial rights.
Which tactics rise to the level of parental alienation?
Parental alienation generally involves one parent trying to negatively manipulate a child’s perceptions of their other parent. The goal is to create a rift between the child and the targeted parent or to portray the targeted parent as “unfit” or “bad.”
Parents who engage in parental alienation will often try to convince their child that their co-parent abandoned their family to run off with another romantic partner. They may even try to convince their child that the other parent was abusive in some way.
How parental alienation impacts custody
The court’s responsibility is to make decisions that they believe are in a child’s best interests — and every judge has seen instances of parental alienation. They’re wary of allegations that aren’t backed up by solid evidence. If they believe that one parent is purposefully trying to alienate their child against the other parent, they may limit the perpetrator’s custody rights quite sharply. That could include nothing more than supervised visitation.
Child custody is a lot more complicated than most people realize. If you’re worried about parental alienation, don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance.