Proving Parental Alienation
Parental alienation is a dangerous manipulation of a child’s relationship with their other parent that can cause long-term trauma for the child as well as affect their capacity to trust their parent.
The process of divorce has diverse effects on everyone involved. When children are involved in the effects of divorce, they can often experience physical, mental, and emotional destabilization, caused by changes to lifestyle and relationship dynamics, as well as absorbing the stresses of their parents during the divorce proceedings and in its aftermath.
Children are like sponges. Highly influenceable, what parents think, feel, say, and do has an impact on the inner terrain of a child. When a parent is going through a divorce, particularly when it is characterized by high conflict, a child receives many of the impressions and byproducts of that stress. If a child is a witness to continual arguments between parents or negative languaging by one parent about the other parent, a child can internalize this and turn against the parent. When a parent uses their power of coercion, either consciously or unconsciously, and it results in a child’s internalization of the negative concept of their other parent, and the result is that the child distances themselves from the parent, this is called parental alienation.
Parental alienation is a dangerous manipulation of a child’s relationship with their other parent that can cause long-term trauma for the child as well as affect their capacity to trust their parent in ways necessary for their wellbeing. During such a vulnerable time as a divorce, actions by a parent that cause parental alienation can have particularly damaging effects on a child’s socio-emotional development and capacity to become a well-adjusted child of divorced parents. Navigating the terrain of parent-child relationships post-divorce is an essential time frame for parents to support their child in resilience-building skills, and any block to that – especially one that pits one parent against another parent or the child against the parent – can have devastating effects.
How can I prove parental alienation?
There are multiple types of parental alienation, and proving that your ex-spouse is engaging in these behaviors requires determining which type of bond-breaking actions they are taking, and documenting them well. You have a right to develop a strong and healthy bond with your child during and after the divorce process; seek the support of a skilled family law attorney if you believe your character is being denigrated by your ex in front of your child.
Unconscious parental alienation
Occurs when a parent harbors unresolved emotional issues regarding their ex and makes consistent, disparaging comments towards their child about their other parent, though, on a superficial level, they appear to be abiding by all court-ordered arrangements. Such a person appears to be an amicable and collaborative co-parent on paper, but the way they speak about their ex in front of their child betrays their desire for the child to take sides — their side.
Conscious parental alienation
Is a bit less subtle than unconscious parental alienation. Someone who is involved in conscious parental alienation uses actively combative language when speaking with their child about their other parent. They speak directly to their child about the poor qualities and even the betrayals of the parent and even attempt to recruit the child to take sides. This type of emotional sabotage that damages a child’s bond with their other parent by inserting subjective poison into the mind of the child and showing little remorse for it is a conscious manifestation of parental alienation.
Active parental alienation.
It is the most divisive example of parental alienation. In this case, a parent is not only aware of manipulating a child’s thoughts and emotions in order to turn them against their other parent – it is the active attempt to separate them from having a healthy and complete bond with the other parent. Actively alienating one’s child from their other parent can impact the terms of their custody arrangement and even their ex’s child support responsibilities.
If you are the victim of parental alienation, you have a right to approach the New Jersey Superior Court: Family Part to amend your custody and parenting time arrangements to re-establish a healthy and secure bond with your child. A judge may suggest mediation to help you and your ex navigate co-parenting in a way that is in highest support of your child’s wellbeing, and your own also; or they may amend the terms of your legal custody agreements if your ex is not showing the capacity to collaborate in your child’s best interest. Keep meticulous records of your interactions with your ex and the statements of your child, and seek the support of a family law attorney to ensure that your parenting rights are fulfilled.
Get in Touch with our Parental Alienation Experienced Attorneys Today
At The Law Offices of Jacobs Berger, our team of experienced attorneys represents clients across New Jersey in all divorce and child custody matters.
To schedule a consultation with a member of our firm today to discuss your parenting time agreement concerns, please contact us online or through our Morristown offices by calling (973) 710-4366 today for a confidential and comprehensive case assessment.