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Parental Alienation: What Are My Options?

Posted on in Child Custody

parental alienation, child custody, Illinois family law attorneyWhen you have separated from or divorced your child’s other parent, you know how difficult cooperation with him or her can be. As most parents in similar situations have discovered, the challenge often lies in keeping the negative feelings you may have toward your ex-partner, valid as they may be, from interfering with your child’s relationship with the other parent. This type of interference is known as parental alienation, and can present serious problems for divorced or unmarried parents, as it may affect a parent’s rights to custody of the child.

Understanding Parental Alienation

Children fare best when they have the love and support of both parents, regardless of the relationship between adults. Sometimes, however, the relationship between the parents is allowed by one or both adults to directly affect the child’s view of and relationship with the other parent. Parental alienation is estimated to be a factor in up to 15 percent of divorces involving children. While not always intentional or necessarily severe, the impact can be serious, not only on the parent-child relationship, but on the child’s own mental health.

According to Edward Kruk, Ph.D., a contributor to Psychology Today, parental alienation is the "‘programming’ of a child by one parent to denigrate the other ‘targeted’ parent." Alienation often results in the emotional rejection of the targeted parent by the child and the decreasing importance of that parent’s role in the child’s life. "Every child has a fundamental right and need for an unthreatened and loving relationship with both parents," Dr. Kruk said, "and to be denied that right by one parent, without sufficient justification such as abuse or neglect, is in itself a form of child abuse." Such actions frequently lead the child to believe that the targeted parent rejected him or her, resulting in, among other issues, low self-esteem, self hatred, and depression.

What Can I Do about Parental Alienation?

Illinois law upholds the importance of parent-child relationship by providing means of continuing it through either joint custody arrangements or visitation rights. One of the specified factors the court must consider in any child custody proceeding, however, is the ability and willingness of each parent to foster and encourage a relationship with the other parent. This means that if your child’s other parent is interfering with your relationship with the child, you can seek a modification of your custody arrangement. In doing you so, you will be expected to offer proof of parental alienation.

Based on this information, along the with other factors pertinent to custody concerns, the court can alter the custody order in an effort to offset the negative effects. Certain cases may even lead the court to limit the parent responsible for such actions to visitation with the child, and if necessary, require the visits to be supervised.

If you are subject to child custody order and you feel that the other parent has begun to turn your child against you, contact an experienced Illinois family law attorney today. At A. Traub & Associates, our dedicated team knows how important your child is to you and will work with your to ensure your rights are protected. You want what is best for your child and we are ready to help you every step of the way.

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