As a parent, one of your most important priorities for your life after divorce is to ensure that your child has everything he or she needs for stability and security long-term. This means equitable access to both California parents and a visitation schedule that allows him or her to maintain close relationships with each one. The priority for any custody schedule should be the best interests of the kids above all else.
While you may understand and accept this, the other parent of your children may not. He or she may be acting emotionally and irrationally, and in an effort to punish you in some way, the other parent may try to harm the relationship you have with your kids. This is parental alienation, and it could have severe negative emotional effects on your children. If you suspect that you are experiencing the impacts of this behavior, you have the right to take action on behalf of your children.
Are your children victims?
Some experts consider parental alienation to be a type of emotional child abuse. It can confuse a child, make him or her stressed and lead to feelings that he or she doesn’t understand. It may eventually affect the way the child perceives the other parent, and the result may be a refusal to spend time with the parent or other behavioral issues. While it is normal for a parent to struggle with their own strong emotions after a divorce, the following could indicate that what you are experiencing actually counts as parental alienation:
- The other parent is speaking negatively about you to the children.
- The parent is defying court orders and refusing to adhere to the custody plan.
- The parent blocks you from attending important events and communicating with your kids.
- The other parent made false abuse or neglect allegations about you.
- The parent tells your children that you are to blame for the divorce.
These actions can have a direct effect on how your children think about you and the relationship you have with them. Parental alienation is unfair and unacceptable, and you have the right to seek a legal resolution to your concerns. A court may order make-up parenting time, counseling and other remedies that can help you restore the relationship you have with your kids. Your parental rights are important, and you can fight back against actions that are a threat to these rights.