Going through a separation or divorce is never easy, and when there are children involved it can make the situation that much harder to work through and navigate. One of the hardest parts of divorce to work through is when parental alienation happens, and this can make it especially difficult to co-parent with your ex-partner. If you’re dealing with parental alienation, here are a few tips for working through it and being able to co-parent effectively.
Parental alienation happens when one parent tries to influence the child’s, or children’s, relationship with their other parent in a negative way. This can be either on purpose or unintentionally – it can sometimes just be a by-product of going through a divorce and all the difficult emotions that come with it. This is not the same as a situation where a child chooses to spend more time with one parent over the other.
While it is never easy, dealing with parental alienation can be dealt with effectively with the right approach.
Watch for warning signs
Sometimes when parental alienation happens, it can feel like it came out of nowhere but when parents look back on what happened, there were definitely warning signs. Some signs might be harder to detect than others, but some signs will be obvious – like refusal to visit or having secrets with just one parent.
Talk to your child
Talking to your kids during a separation or divorce can be difficult – it’s an emotionally stressful time for everyone involved – but you need to keep the lines of communication open.
Distinguishing between parental alienation and estrangement (where the child chooses to not spend time with one parent) can be tough. Trying to figure out what exactly your child is going through might be hard, but it’s crucial for dealing with parental alienation. Also, when you try to talk to your child do your best to not belittle or criticize the other parent.
And this means absolutely everything. Try not to get into a verbal or text message battle with your ex-partner, but rather keep a record of events and activities where the alienation is happening. This documentation will be very important for your lawyers and the court (should you need to escalate it to that level).
If you believe parental alienation is occurring, you should discuss the matter with your lawyer. Depending on the severity, they may recommend mediation or even taking the matter to family court.
There will often be a court appointed psychologist to work with the child or children involved. In some cases, there could also be a lawyer appointed to represent the child and their best interests.
The important aspect to remember is that the goal is always is to protect the best interests of your child, and it is not about you or your ex-partner. Work with your lawyer to establish the best plan and next steps so that you can do everything possible for the best outcome for your child.
If you feel that parental alienation is occurring in your relationship with you child(ren), it is important to intervene quickly. Contact Segal Law today to speak with one of our family lawyers to help you determine the right course of action for your situation.