Divorce can sometimes be a hostile process, particularly when there are unresolved issues that make a more cooperative dynamic more difficult for co-parents to maintain. Unfortunately, sometimes this can lead to parental alienation. Parental alienation is a term that describes what occurs when a parent tries to turn their children against their co-parent. This is especially common in situations where a parent might still harbor resentment or anger toward the other parent. Unfortunately, this behavior is damaging for and harmful to all parties involved.
Do you think you are experiencing parental alienation? Below is a list of some of the most common warning signs you should be aware of including but not limited to the following:
- Your children know a lot of specific details about your divorce: Of course, parents must have an honest conversation with their children and let them know that their parents will no longer be together. However, divulging intimate details about the cause of the divorce, such as infidelity or irresponsible spending habits, is unnecessary and generally only serve to alienate a parent. If you find that your children are acutely aware of the details of your divorce, this could be a strong indicator that your co-parent is trying to turn them against you.
- Your children seem to be siding with your co-parent: While it is natural for children to be angry with their parents during a divorce and even in the aftermath, it is usually not normal for these feelings to be heavily directed at one parent. If you notice your children behaving more combative with you, refusing to visit you, and being particularly protective of their other parent, your co-parent might be trying to alienate you from them.
- Your authority as a parent is being challenged: You and your co-parent will likely always have some disagreements and this is completely normal and expected. That said, your co-parent should not encourage your children to disobey your rules when they are in your home. In fact, there should be some unity regarding what is expected of your children at home to maintain consistency. If your co-parent is allowing your children to do things that you expressly forbid, this is a sign that your authority is being undermined, and a big red flag that your co-parent is engaging in parental alienation.
- Your children are being used as spies: Your co-parent might try to use your children to gather information about your life, including whether or not you have a new partner or have made any extravagant purchases, and attempt to use this information against you.
- Your co-parent excessively controls your children’s property: Just because your co-parent paid for something, does not mean he or she can keep your children from bringing it to your home. For example, if your co-parent purchased a game for your children, but does not allow them to take it when they visit you, this causes unnecessary problems that can contribute to parental alienation.
What Can Be Done? Here are a few tips:
- Maintain a journal that keeps track of incidents when your co-parent denies you access to the children. It should include details about the situation, the reason you were given regarding why you cannot see the children, and any other information you believe might be helpful in court.
- Make your requests to see the children in writing. This will provide solid evidence in court that you wanted to see your children and were denied, preventing your co-parent from claiming that you have not tried to see the children.
- Consider seeing a therapist if you are unsure whether you are dealing with parental alienation. A therapist will be able to discuss the situation with you and provide support for your case by showing that you were actively taking steps to change the situation, especially if you invite your co-parent to attend these sessions.
Knowledgeable Divorce Attorney in Chesterfield
If you and your spouse are in the middle of a divorce, you should not hesitate to seek skilled legal guidance to help you navigate this often complex process. At Galmiche Law Firm, P.C. in Chesterfield, our knowledgeable divorce attorney is dedicated to helping clients dissolve their marriage while protecting their interests. Backed by 40 years of legal experience, you can rest assured that your case will be in good hands with us.
Get started on your divorce case today and contact our law office at (636) 552-4841 to schedule a consultation and learn more about your legal options.