Parental Alienation After Divorce

Divorce is never easy for families, and it can understandably be very difficult for children to come to terms with the splitting up of their parents. During this confusing and challenging time, it is important for parents to communicate with their children to reassure them that the divorce is not their fault, and that they can still expect their parents to love and support them through the transition.

Counselors and therapists agree that no matter what issues parents face during a divorce, it is critical that they work together for their children. Unfortunately, some parents find that they are unable to effectively cooperate, and sometimes even resort to using their children as pawns in their arguments. In extreme cases, this can result in parental alienation, in which the bad feelings directed from one parent to another influence a child to such a degree that the child begins to harbor an unhealthy dislike for one parent.

The following are some of the signs of parental alienation:

  • Children show a sudden negative change in their attitudes about one parent
  • Children seem to have knowledge of the details related to the legal aspects of their parents’ divorce
  • Children become uncharacteristically rude or belligerent toward one parent
  • Children are given the choice of whether or not they want to visit the other parent, even though the court does not grant the authority to make that choice
  • Children place blame for the divorce on the shoulders of one parent
  • The hostile parent uses the children as spies regarding the other parent’s personal life
  • The hostile parent undermines or speaks disparagingly about the other parent in the presence of the children
  • The hostile parent and children begin blaming the other parent for changes in lifestyle, not having enough money, etc.
  • The hostile parent asks the child to choose them over the other parent

In most cases, parents are unaware that their anger and resentment toward their ex-spouse is being mimicked by their children, but it can nevertheless have extremely damaging consequences. Not only does parental alienation rob one parent of the opportunity to enjoy a meaningful bond with his or her children, but it can also result in serious, lasting emotional damage to the children.

If you suspect that your ex-spouse’s behavior could be leading to parental alienation, please contact Moskowitz Law Group, LLC. Our experienced Bergen County family law attorneys can step in to help protect your rights and the best interests of you and your children. By taking action early to correct negative behaviors, you can protect your relationship with your children and safeguard them from emotional harm.

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