Children whose parents are separated or going through a divorce are often emotionally affected and may want to pull away from the parent they believe caused the divorce. However, in some cases, children pull away from their parents because of the actions of others through what is known as parental alienation.
Parental alienation occurs when one parent or another person tries to psychologically manipulate a child or otherwise negatively influence a child so as to destroy the child’s relationship with the other parent. It is sometimes referred to as parental alienation syndrome. This can be done by constantly putting down or talking negatively about a parent in front of the children, or by actively encouraging the child to pull away from the parent.
As a result of parental alienation, the child may begin to be more hostile, rude, or distant from the parent. The child may also refuse to communicate and interact with the parent, even refusing to go to court order time sharing. While not every instance of a distance or rudeness is a result of parental alienation, these can be signs of alienation if it is sustained behavior that seems to get worse after the child has spent time with the other parent.
It is not always easy to prove parental alienation in court. If a parent in a custody fight wants to allege parental alienation has taken place, the parent can introduce evidence of parental alienation syndrome and then introduce evidence showing specific examples of it with his own child. Proving parental alienation may require introduction of expert testimony.
Alternatively, the parent could use the examples of the other parent’s attempt to alienate the child to show that the court should limit parental responsibility and time sharing with the parent because it goes against the child’s best interest to do otherwise. In a custody case, courts are required to consider the best interests of the child, bearing in mind the factors provided under Illinois law.
One of the factors that a court considers in granting a parent parental responsibility or time sharing is the parent’s willingness to facilitate a relationship between the child and the other parent. Therefore, if a court finds that a parent is actively trying to ruin the relationship between the child and the other parent, the court can act in the best interest of the child and limit the amount of parental responsibility and time sharing granted to the alienating parent.
Contact a Family Law Attorney
If you believe that your child’s other parent or another person acting on behalf of that parent is engaging in parental alienation, or is trying to keep your children from you, you need to consult with a skilled DuPage County family law attorney to find out what options you have. Contact Momkus McCluskey Roberts LLC in DuPage County, Illinois, today.