Know the signs of parental alienation

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Friday, August 24, 2018.

Divorced mothers and fathers in Illinois may find themselves dealing with the troubling problem of parental alienation. This happens when a child is encouraged to turn away from one of his or her parents in an extreme or radical way. While this type of alienation can happen between parents who are still together, it is far more common in divorced families. Either parent, whether or not he or she has the majority of parental responsibilities, could be responsible for interfering with the child’s bond with the other parent.

When Illinois judges deal with child custody issues, they assign “parental responsibilities” to emphasize both parents’ roles. However, where the child lives is not the key factor in parental alienation. Furthermore, the effects go beyond what is common for normal life transitions like puberty. A child may begin to exclude his or her parents from life events or request that one parent no longer attend parent/teacher conferences, school events and school meetings. In fact, that parent could be removed as a contact with the school administration.

The child might say that he or she is expressing personal feelings rather than being subject to manipulation. However, it may be obvious to the parent that the child’s attitude has undergone a sudden shift from love and respect to combativeness and contempt. Parental alienation is not in the best interests of the child and is not acceptable in family court.

Parents who have been the victim of an alienation campaign by their former spouses and co-parents can protect themselves in the face of this behavior. A family law attorney can help a parent seek a child custody modification and changed parenting plan that bars this type of conduct.

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