Attorney Tiffany Lunn-White of Lunn Law LLC Answers: How Does Parental Alienation Affect Child Custody?

parental alienation

There is a steady uptick in cases involving parental alienation.  Parental alienation has always existed but now the courts and legal professionals are more aware of its existence.  Furthermore,  the ability for courts and attorneys to identify  parental alienation and/or allegations of it have greatly improved.  Let’s be clear, parental alienation is beyond one parenting talking badly about the other to the child.  Although such behavior is not condoned or approved, parental alienation goes far beyond casual “name calling” or blaming.

Parental alienation is when one parent pursues an overwhelming, intentional “campaign” to cause a child or children to entirely reject the other parent without a valid cause. Typical behaviors presented by a child that has been alienated are that the child will claim to have always hated or disliked the targeted parent, even when there is clear evidence that this was not the case. The child will stubbornly insist that he or she does not want to have the targeted parent in their life ever again. The child’s rejection of the targeted parent is absolute and absent of guilt and unwavering. Generally, the child’s reasoning for their hatred of the targeted parent is unsubstantial and lacks weight to justify such strong feelings.

Although parental alienation does exist there are also times when a parent will unjustly claim the other parent is wrongly campaigning against or defaming him or her to excuse their reprehensible behavior or failed relationship with the child or children.  Parental alienation cases can be tricky and often rely on the involvement of very experienced mental health professionals, aware legal counsel, and a Guardian Ad Litem. (63) When parental alientation actually exists, it is extremely harmful to the child or children involved therefore the courts take such allegations every serious.

For instance, courts have removed children from the custodial parent’s home, on a temporary basis or longer, if the court believes the degree of alienation justifies removal.  The courts’ rationale is to prevent further alienation and to rebuild the parent/child relationship that has been affected. If you are the target of parental alienation or have been wrongfully accused then you should contact an experienced family law attorney.

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