Attorney Todd Dwire speaking with staff member in conference room

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Can you spot the warning signs of parental alienation?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2022 | Divorce |

Shared custody has become the gold standard in modern divorces. The courts want parents to work together because that is what is best for the children. 

Although most couples eventually adjust to shared custody arrangements, sometimes one parent will still do their best to alienate the other from the children and interfere in their relationship with the children. Parental alienation involves one parent trying to damage the relationship that the other has with the children.

What are some warning signs of parental alienation?

Frequent canceled visits

Once you have a schedule for shared parenting time, you and your ex should do your best to make those arrangements work. If your ex frequently cancels your time with the children, that could be a sign of attempted parental alienation.

Especially if they cancel with excuses that don’t seem real and don’t allow you make-up parenting time, those denied visits could be an attempt to disrupt your bond with the children.

A lack of direct communication with the kids

If your ex will not allow you to directly call or email the children and instead serves as an intermediary in all communications, that makes parental alienation easier to achieve. They can lie to you about the children’s availability while claiming to the children so that you simply haven’t been in contact. 

If every conversation you have with your children is dependent on your ex, then they could actively prevent you from being a daily part of the children’s lives. 

A change in the children’s perception of you

If you arrive to pick up the children, only to have them rail against you and refuse to leave, that could be a sign of parental alienation, too. The parent trying to alienate the other will often engage in a protracted campaign of misinformation. They will make complaints about their ex to the children and try to denigrate the other parent.

From claiming you are the one canceling parenting time to lying about what happened in your marital relationship, your ex can plant seeds in the minds of your children that can damage their perception of you. 

Once you notice signs of parental alienation, you are then in a better position to ask the courts for help. Judges typically frown on one parent trying to harm the relationship the other has with the children.

If you can show that your ex has interfered with your parenting time or tried to turn the children against you, that could affect the final custody ruling in your divorce or give you grounds for a modification hearing request.


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