Parental alienation is the systematic breakdown of a child’s relationship with one parent after a divorce. It most commonly occurs after a contested or particularly nasty divorce. One parent may harbor extremely negative or detrimental feelings of the other and wants their shared child or children to be on his or her “side.’
The most damaging effect of parental alienation means that the child may end up hating one parent. It could also result in extremely negative, ingrained feelings about the parent that results in the lack of possibility for a healthy relationship, even far into adulthood. According to the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization, the most common tactics include one parent bad talking the other excessively, denying access to the other parent, or even stripping the child’s belongings of anything that was a gift or is reminiscent of the other parent.
Beyond recognizing parental alienation and parental alienation syndrome in the child is the legal recourse the other parent has to track and help end such behavior. Illinois state law recognizes proved parental alienation or parental alienation syndrome as a reason to modify a custody agreement, but it is nearly impossible to do so without the assistance of a family law attorney.
Because of its deep psychological nature and effects proving parental alienation can be very difficult, according to Psychology magazine. The easiest way to do this is through close behavioral monitoring, which can be increasingly difficult or seemingly impossible if you are being kept physically distant from the child.
According to one doctor, the primary manifestation of parental alienation syndrome is the child’s campaign of vitriol against one parent, usually that has no outward justification. Documenting this type of behavior, then, is crucial for a case to hold up in court. Even if it does, according to the doctor, judges rarely place serious sanctions on the alienating parent. Without the threat of a serious punishment, the alienating parent is unlikely to cease the behavior immediately.
These complications make it all the more important to seek legal counsel if you suspect your child is a victim of parental alienation. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney today.