Divorce is hard no matter what, especially when there are children involved. Negotiating custody, visitation, and support can be a timely and emotional process, which is why it’s key that both parties involved put the best interests of their children before everything else. But what happens when someone actually tries to poison their children against their former partner?
The term “parental alienation syndrome” refers to circumstances in which one parent actively attempts to turn their child or children against the other. This situation tends to arise when one parent is angry at their partner or ex-partner and sets out to create a negative picture of them in their child’s mind.
Children should never be used as a bargaining chip. If you believe your spouse is practicing parental alienation , you may be able to use this behavior to argue on your behalf in divorce court.
What Are the Warning Signs of Parental Alienation Syndrome?
In a 2018 article for Psychology Today, Susan Heitler, Ph.D. discussed how parental alienation syndrome usually manifests when one parent:
- Makes frequent negative comments about the other parent;
- Blames the other parent for everything that goes wrong;
- Makes false accusations about the other parent;
- Tells the child/children they are the only one who cares for them or can help them; and/or
- Makes every effort to keep children away from the other parent, spending as much time with them as possible just to make sure the other parent never sees them.
Heitler writes that, in her practice, it is usually the mother who has been guilty of parental alienation among heterosexual couples, though in some cases it has been the father, too. Research indicates that no matter which parent is at fault for parental alienation syndrome, the effects on the child or children in the family can be devastating. This behavior has been shown to cause long-term psychological harm, and research indicates that parental alienation can even be considered cruel and abusive treatment.
What Can I Do About It?
If you see your spouse or partner demonstrating signs of parental alienation syndrome, it is important to take action. Confront them about their behavior, and if things don’t change, seek the counseling of an accredited professional who can help you work through these issues. If, after all this, your co-parent has still not changed their behavior and continues to practice parental alienation, it may be time to get an attorney involved.
No child deserves to be poisoned against their parents in a messy divorce. If you believe your spouse or partner is trying to turn your child against you, contact an attorney who will help you get the custody, support and visitation rights you are entitled to.
Are you a parent concerned that your spouse or partner may be using parental alienation against you? Looking for a lawyer who will fight for your rights as a fatheror help you obtain a restraining order? Call Peter L. Cedeño & Associates, P.C. at (212) 235-1382 or contact us online today. With 20 years of experience in divorce proceedings across New York, our team of attorneys is committed to putting your family first, and will always make sure you understand our process along the way.