It is safe to say that child custody disputes have the potential to bring out the worst in people. In contentious or acrimonious divorces, parents can become desperate when trying to ensure that they will retain custody over their children. This may sometimes lead to situations where children are stuck in the middle of a legal battle between their parents. In extreme circumstances, parents may attempt to get children to take their side by using suggestion, manipulation, or flat out lies. This form of child abuse is known as parental alienation, and parents committing such actions may be penalized when it comes to various child custody matters.
The parental alienation attorneys of Jacobs Berger believe that children are highly susceptible to parental alienation, particularly during a stressful period such as a divorce or child custody dispute. For this and many other reasons, we approach each family law case we get as an opportunity to provide a blueprint for our clients and their families moving forward. Our firm takes pride in offering dynamic and creative legal solutions for individuals who have been impacted by parental alienation in New Jersey towns.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of parental alienation, call our office today for a comprehensive and confidential Strategic Planning Session with one of our qualified and experienced child custody attorneys.
What Is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation is a form of psychological abuse that parents can inflict upon their children. Essentially, it can be any action or inaction which results in a child harboring negative feeling towards another parent or guardian. It is important to understand that while many cases of parental alienation are deliberate and malicious, there are also many examples of well-meaning parents unintentionally alienating another parent. Examples of parental alienation may include:
- Lying to children about the other parent or painting the other parent in a negative light
- Breaking court orders and either refusing parenting time or otherwise keeping a child from the other parent
- Forcing children to choose sides
- Withholding information from a parent about their child
- Blaming another parent for a negative situation
- Much more
Parental Alienation Lawyers Discuss the Impacts on Children
Young children, whether they will admit it or not, are programmed to believe what their parents tell them. Our Denville parental alienation lawyers understand that this dynamic can have devastating consequences when a parent uses their child’s trust to manipulate their thoughts and feelings towards another parent. Sadly, parental alienation is such a serious issue because it has been proven to be extremely effective in turning a child against the alienated parent.
Children who are the victims of parental alienation may begin to harbor negative feelings and even hatred towards another parent without even realizing it. In the immediate, this can result in a strained parent-child relationship. In the long term, the schism may or may not continue to grow, potentially leading to a worst-case scenario where a parent is no longer in the child’s life.
Furthermore, children may develop psychological issues including depression and anxiety which can stem from the belief that they are not loved and/or wanted by both parents. This may also lead to a pattern of dysfunctional relationships which may extend to their own children in the future.
Child Custody Hearings and Parental Alienation
The most important factor in any kind of child custody hearing (be it during divorce or afterwards in a relocation hearing or child custody modification hearing) is that of the “best interests” of the children. Since it is the belief of the New Jersey family court system that children should have as strong a relationship as possible with both of their parents, a parent who is alienating their children from their other parent will often be considered to be actively harming the best interests of their children, often resulting in diminished child custody and visitation time for the offending parent.
If you believe your co-parent is alienating your children from having a strong relationship with you, our Morris County parental alienation attorneys can use a variety of tactics to ensure the best interests of your children are accurately represented in any kind of child custody hearing. While each case is unique, child custody hearings involving parental alienation share commonalities including a black mark on the character of a parent and concern for the mental wellbeing of the child or children. Our parental alienation attorneys may employ any of the following strategies:
- Providing evidence of parental alienation to show that another parent may not be fit
- Using evidence of parental alienation to show that a parent is abusive and therefore should have limited, perhaps even supervised visitation
- Bring in expert witnesses to testify on the psychological effects of parental alienation on children
- Using parental alienation to disprove any previous testimony or statements made by a child which may have been made under coercion by an abusive parent
- Request that the abusive parent seeks continuing psychological treatment as part of the child custody agreement
Contact our Parental Alienation and Child Custody Lawyers Today
At Jacobs Berger, LLC, our child custody attorneys understand that parental alienation is an extremely serious issue for parents entering into a child custody dispute. Our role in the legal process is to help our clients in New Jersey communities go from distressed to de-stressed. While issues involving child abuse and potential parental alienation can cause emotions to run high, our firm is dedicated to mitigating the emotional and financial stressors of the divorce and child custody process.
Contact us online or through our Morristown offices by calling (973) 710-4366 today for a confidential and comprehensive Strategic Planning Session regarding your child custody dispute involving parental alienation and to learn more about how we can best serve your needs.