Hoboken, New Jersey Parental Alienation Attorneys

Many parents have an understanding that their children should see each of their parents in a positive light. But sometimes, when a child’s parents are involved in a complicated and messy separation or divorce, both parents and their children can easily lose sight of this. When one parent either intentionally or inadvertently speaks negatively of the other parent, these negative views can influence a child to think the same way about that parent or even themselves.

It is no secret that separation and divorce can create significant tension and stress for everyone involved. Children might face difficult adjustments when they have to change their schedules, living arrangements, and even schools because their parents have decided to go their separate ways. But one of the more damaging effects that a divorce can have on a child is when one parent attempts to disrupt their child’s relationship with the other parent. Parental alienation ends up preventing children from having the reassurance and support they need from both parents when trying to adapt to their new family situation and dynamics.

What Is Parental Alienation and Parental Alienation Syndrome?

Parental alienation is often considered a type of emotional child abuse where one parent belittles or disparages the other parent in front of their child. Whether your child is a victim of parental alienation syndrome is not the easiest thing to prove, and not all judges believe that the issue is legitimate or that identifying the issue is very helpful when dealing with complex child custody issues. Children may be naturally upset at one parent or the other because of the disruption they are dealing with due to the divorce or separation. Moreover, when children grow older their attitudes change, so whether their actions and moods are due to parental alienation or simply because of teenage angst is not often very clear. The following are some common signs of parental alienation, but as explained above, these signs can also have alternative explanations:

  • Your child defends and usually sides with the other parent;
  • Your child accuses you of behavior or actions that never happened;
  • Your child distances themselves from you without any explanation even though you used to have a close relationship;
  • Your child engages in rebellious behavior;
  • The other parent does not let you have contact with or access to your child.
  • It is important to note that even if these signs of parental alienation are present, a child custody evaluation may be necessary to confirm that parental alienation is actually occurring.

What Should I Do if I Suspect that Parental Alienation is a Factor in My Divorce?

If you suspect that your child is suffering from parental alienation syndrome and you are bearing the brunt of your child’s behavior, you should try to address it right away. Oftentimes, family therapy can help everyone through the adjustments they’re dealing with as a result of the separation and divorce. Parenting coordinators or mediators who can act as a neutral party or facilitator can also help resolve any parenting issues that might be causing or contributing to the alienation. But in serious cases where the alienation is harder to prove or address, you might need to seek a remedy in court.

As mentioned above, not all judges or even psychologists believe that parental alienation is an actual syndrome or problem, but the majority if not all judges are committed to advocating for and protecting the bests interests of the children involved. If it can be established that your ex-partner is actively interfering with your custody and visitation rights, then if might not be necessary to prove parental alienation in order to pursue a remedy. Some of the remedies you may be entitled to include permanent or temporary changes to your parenting plan, such as:

  • Changing who is the primary residential parent;
  • Changing any transportation arrangements;
  • Changing parenting time/schedules;
  • Changing pick-up and/or drop-off locations.

In addition to these parenting plan changes, it is also possible that a judge may decide to penalize the interfering parent by ordering them to:

  • Attend counseling or parenting classes;
  • Pay for your court costs and attorney’s fees;
  • Pay for your counseling or counseling for your children;
  • Participate in community service; or
  • Pay any costs associated with failing to comply with court orders.

These and other sanctions are specifically authorized for violations of custody orders under New Jersey Court Rules.

Ultimately, your goal should be to make modifications to your custody arrangement to serve your child’s best interests and to remove them from a damaging situation that has arisen due to the actions of the interfering parent.

Contact the Aretsky Law Group, P.C., Today to Discuss Your Concerns About Parental Alienation

The attorneys at Aretsky Law Group, P.C., have extensive experience handling complex and difficult divorce cases that involve parental alienation issues. Contact the Hoboken attorneys at the Aretsky Law Group, P.C. today by calling 1-800-537-4154 or emailing the office at office@aretskylawgroup.com to discuss your case and schedule a free consultation at our Hoboken, N.J. meeting location by appointment only.