Custody battles can often bring out the worst in parents. One fear that many parents have is that the other will attempt to turn the child against him or her. Parental alienation is a real problem in custody cases, making it challenging to maintain your relationship with your child. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. If the other parent is trying to come between you and your child, let a Greenville, SC custody attorney help.
Parental alienation is an active attempt by one parent to turn a child against the other. It’s more than just an argument in front of the child or bad-mouthing the other parent. Those behaviors are certainly troubling. But parental alienation is a systematic effort to brainwash a child to the point that the parent-child relationship is destroyed. It is often carried out in a series of steps over a period of time. Parental alienation syndrome is a psychological term often ascribed to the impact this behavior has on the child.
There are often red flags indicating attempts to undermine a parent’s relationship with a child. You should alert your Greenville, SC custody attorney to any of the following:
- Repeated criticism of the other parent in the presence of the child, often through exaggerations or false claims
- Letting the child decide whether to visit the other parent
- Trying to make the child feel guilty for visiting the other parent
- Blaming the other parent for a failed marriage, failed relationship, or other personal problems
- Not including the other parent in major decisions involving the child
- Not including the other parent in sports, after school, or extracurricular activities
- Constantly threatening contempt over minor arguments, disagreements, or violations of court orders
- Refusing to be flexible with visitation and instead insisting on a strict schedule
Unfortunately, Greenville, SC parents who engage in these and other behaviors are often weaponizing the child against the other parent. Their actions may cause the child to exhibit the following:
- Fear, distrust, or resentment towards the other parent
- Wanting to avoid or not have anything to do with the other parent
- Discipline and other behavioral problems when the child is with the other parent
- Repeating the criticisms made by the parent engaged in alienating behavior
These consequences can have a spiraling effect, making an already contentious Greenville, SC custody case worse. An example is seen when the alienating parent’s behavior causes the child to rebel against the other parent. The alienating parent will take this as an inability on the other parent’s part to discipline. In reality, it’s a problem caused by the alienating parent.
Courts in Greenville, SC look down on parental alienation, but proving it can be tricky. If you believe the other parent is engaged in such behavior, you may need the following:
Testimony from relatives, friends, and neutral witnesses. Any testimony is helpful, and that includes from the affected parent. But having neutral witnesses is especially helpful to overcome alleged biases.
Testimony from the child. You will have to consider having the child testify in court. This can be tricky, and obviously it concerns a serious and sensitive subject. Ask your Greenville, SC custody attorney about how best to approach this.
Testimony from expert witnesses. Counselors, therapists, psychologists, and others who have observed the child’s behavior may be able to help. Or, you may have experts in the field who can more generally testify about parental alienation.
Written and electronic records and other documentation. In many cases, parents send text messages or emails which clearly evidence their attempt to alienate. Sometimes there are third party records which demonstrate this troubling behavior as well. An experienced Greenville, SC custody attorney can explain what evidence will support you and how to introduce it in court.
In order to correct parental alienation, you may need to have the Greenville, SC judge order reunification therapy. Modifying the previous court order to limit the damaging behavior is another possible option. Your custody attorney can explore different avenues with you so the abuse can stop.
We Help Parents Dealing with Parental Alienation
Greenville Family Law understands the difficulties that come with custody matters, including parental alienation. As a parent, you have a right to protect your relationship with your child. Don’t let the other parent destroy it. Call us today to put an end to parental alienation and to assist with any other custody issues.