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What is Parental Alienation and How Can It Affect My Custody Case?

Posted on in Child Custody

Naperville child custody lawyerUnmarried and divorced parents have a legal right to parenting time with their children. However, if the court finds that a parent’s involvement in a child’s life puts the child in danger or has a negative effect on his or her wellbeing, the parent can lose this right. One issue that can sometimes lead to the loss of parenting time is parental alienation. Parental alienation occurs when a parent or other family member attempts to destroy the relationship between a parent and a child.

Turning a Child Against His or Her Parent

Sharing a child with someone you used to be in a relationship with can be a very challenging situation. Parents may hold grudges against each other and harbor resentment because of disagreements that happened while they were in a romantic relationship. Some parents may also feel bitterness toward their child’s other parent because they do not want to be away from their child during the other parent’s parenting time. Whatever the reason, the tension between parents can have a major impact on children’s mental wellbeing. When a parent makes an intentional effort to break down the relationship between their child and the child’s other parent, this may be considered parental alienation. Actions such as refusing to share essential information about the child with the other parent, telling a child that the other parent does not love them, or using lies to convince a child that the other parent is evil may cause a child significant psychological harm.  

Consequences of Parental Alienation

It should be noted that making mildly disparaging comments to a child about a parent such as, “Your father is always late!” or “Your mother should get you to bed earlier,” will likely not be considered parental alienation. However, if there is an intentional aim to ruin a child’s relationship with his or her other parent through the use of manipulation or deceit, the courts will likely consider this conduct that impairs the child’s mental health and emotional development. This may result in the reduction or elimination of his or her parenting responsibilities, mandatory supervision during parenting time, and other consequences. Proving parental alienation can be very difficult. Physical evidence such as text messages or voicemails as well as expert witness testimonies from child psychologists or social workers may help a parent prove that parental alienation exists and is harmful to the child.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

Parental alienation occurs when a parent or other family member tries to destroy the relationship between a child and a parent. If you believe that your child’s other parent is acting in ways that are damaging your child’s mental wellbeing, do not hesitate to get help. Contact a skilled Naperville, IL child custody lawyer at Pesce Law Group, P.C. Call us today at 630-352-2240 and schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K603.10.htm

https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/1989023/in-re-marriage-of-bates/

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