Five Things to Know About Parental Alienation

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Divorce in North Carolina can be difficult and bring out the ugly in people.  Sometimes it is inevitable that there is “bad blood” between the divorcing spouses.  We see parental alienation more often than we would like in family law, which is unfortunate and frowned upon by our courts.

Alienation can have a destructive effect on a child and their parent.  If you are found to be causing alienation with your child, it can cause a judge to limit your custodial rights with your children.  Here are five basic things to know about parental alienation.

  1. What is Parental Alienation?
  • Parental alienation is when one parent, consciously or unconsciously, takes action that serves to alienate or isolate the child from the other parent.  One parent essentially tries to turn the child against the other parent.  Over time through repeated actions, the child learns from the alienating parent to dislike or disrespect the other parent.
  1. Examples of alienation:
  • Telling the child they aren’t safe with the other parent;
  • Telling the child things about the spousal relationship or reasons for the divorce;
  • Telling the child the other parent doesn’t want to spend time with them;
  • Asking the child to choose one parent over the other;
  • Reinforcing or not correcting negative comments about the other parent;
  • Punishing or withholding affection the child for spending time with the other parent (“it hurts my feelings when you want to stay with your dad”).
  1. An alienated child may display characteristics such as:
  • Anger or hatefulness towards you for seemingly no reason;
  • Repeatedly refusing to visit during your custody time;
  • Siding with the other parent when there are disputes;
  • Providing no explanation for why he/she is angry with you;
  • Considering you to be a bad person, while believing the other parent to be a good person.
  1. Parental alienation can seriously impact a child’s self-esteem, mental health, and cause long term damage to their relationship with their parent.
  • While some alienation is not intentional, it all can be extremely harmful to a child and have lasting effects.  If you are noticing any of these signs, you should take immediate action and try to work through it with your co-parent and, if necessary, a child therapist who specializing in alienation or high conflict custody disputes.
  1. What steps you can take to resolve the parental alienation:
  • Talk to your family law attorney and see what the best course of action would be.
  • Consider filing a motion to have the court find your co-parent in If the other parent is not obeying your court ordered visitation agreement, they can be found in contempt of court.
  • Ask the court to modify your visitation agreement.

If you suspect your co-parent is alienating your child or you have been accused of parental alienation, call our office and schedule a consult with our experienced Raleigh Divorce Lawyer right away.

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