Parental alienation usually occurs with separation or divorce and is a change from the previous relationship. One parent brainwashes the child about the other parent, and the child demonstrates identifiable behaviors. The alienating parent may say the child is just not comfortable with the other parent and give no substantial reason for it.
The child denigrates the rejected parent. He has no solid basis for the denigration. The child is completely one-sided and claims that his beliefs about the rejected parent are his own, not the alienating parent’s. The rejected parent is bad without justification. If there is a conflict situation, the child automatically takes the side of the alienating parent. The child can be cruel, nasty and shows no remorse about hurting the rejected parent. The child spreads his rejection to the extended family.
He is being pressured by one parent. The Court’s role is to make it clear to the parents that their behavior affects the children. Studies have shown that parental alienation can result in low self-esteem, depression, drug abuse, mistrust, alienation from their children, divorce. When a parent has abused a child or acted in a way that realistically would cause a child to want to stay away, it is a rational response to the parent’s behavior and is not parental alienation. Parental alienation must be presented to the Courts by mental health professionals in custody cases. The lawyer can, early on, ask the Court for the mechanisms to fund family therapy, a Guardian Ad Litem for the child, and the appointment of mental health experts.
Tanya N. Helfand, Esq. concentrates in Family Law, she is a Certified Matrimonial Attorney and mediator. The firm welcomes your questions and inquiries at [email protected] Everything is confidential. This article is not legal advice. Please consult an attorney.