What is parental alienation?

Posted by Zachary A. VanDykeAug 13, 20210 Comments

If you have decided to divorce your spouse, you undoubtedly have a list of reasons your marriage simply is not working. Still, your kids may need to spend time with both their parents to thrive. If you intend to share custody of your children with your ex-spouse, you should be able to count on him or her to respect your parent-child relationships.

That, of course, does not always happen. Parental alienation is a type of psychological child abuse that occurs when one parent actively tries to turn the children against the other parent. Not only is parental alienation dangerous for you and your kids, but it may also affect your custody arrangement.

Common examples of parental alienation

There is really no such thing as garden-variety parental alienation, as it may come in many different forms. Still, if your ex-spouse does any of the following more than once, you may have evidence of parental alienation:

  • Asking your children to spy on you
  • Neglecting to comply with your custody agreement or parenting plan
  • Telling your kids untrue information about you
  • Encouraging your children to distrust or despise you
  • Excluding you from normal parent-child activities, such as teacher conferences, ballgames or recitals

Your custody case

When making custody-related decisions, Florida judges must consider the best interests of the child. Courts throughout the Sunshine State have consistently concluded parental alienation runs counter to this legal standard. That is, many judges believe parental alienation is damaging to the emotional well-being of children and therefore not in their best interests.

Ultimately, if you can prove your ex-spouse is engaging in alienating behaviors, you may be able to convince a judge to rework your existing custody arrangement.