When a couple goes their separate ways after a dissolution of marriage, one or both of the spouses might encounter some hardships. Feelings of depression and anger can resonate in an ex-spouse, affecting the relationship with other family members, including children. Regardless of how rocky a divorce can be, it is important to remember that when a child is involved, his or her best interests should remain the focal point of both caregivers. Parenting plans are created to ensure the child receives quality parenting time with both parents. However, parental alienation is a growing area of concern. It can be defined by one parent manipulating his or her child and attempting to negatively affect the child’s relationship with the other parent. This malicious behavior could result in the child associating negative emotions or even hatred with the alienated parent.
What Causes Parental Alienation
Some of the most contentious disagreements in any divorce case often involve the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody) and parenting time (formerly known as visitation). A fear that far too many moms and dads are facing today is the possibility that their relationship with their child could be affected because of lies told by the other parent. For example, a mother could tell her daughter that her father does not love her anymore when, in reality, the father would do anything for his daughter. Everyone wants to believe that their parents would never lie to them, so when a child is told misleading or fabricated information about the other parent, it may be taken as the truth.
Acts of parental alienation typically ensue when a parent is emotionally unstable or upset as a result of the divorce. A parent may attempt to push blame for the divorce onto the other spouse, in hopes that the child will want to spend more time with the parent who is supposedly not at fault. This process can be very damaging for the child, and cutting off a relationship with one parent could leave them feeling confused, sad, and lonely. Furthermore, when parents make their child choose sides, cause them to feel guilty about wanting to see the other parent, or refuse to allow them to speak to the other parent, these are all forms of alienation. If a parent recognizes any sign of disassociation from their child, this should immediately be investigated before it can progress.
Fighting Against Parental Alienation
Early detection is critical in any case in which a parent attempts to alienate children against the opposing spouse. If the act is discovered too late, the damage done could be irreversible. Friends, family members, and support groups are great resources that can help assist in repairing a damaged relationship with your child. Trying to communicate with your child about their attitude, documenting situations so they know the truth, and defusing conflict by refusing to fight with your ex-spouse could help your child see that you do love them and want to be a part of their life.
Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney
If your ex has interfered with your court-ordered parenting time, you may be able to have your parenting plan modified. However, when petitioning the court for this sort of modification, you need to build a strong case in which your ex-spouse’s behavior is documented and patterns of parental alienation are established. At the Andrew Cores Family Law Group, we can work with you to address parental alienation, and we will provide the legal representation that will help you preserve your relationship with your child. Contact our dedicated Wheaton, IL child custody lawyers today at 630-871-1002 for a free initial consultation.