Taege Law Offices

When complex divorces and family law matters simply must be handled right, people turn to us

How does parental alienation happen?

One of the worst things that can happen to a parent after a divorce is to be alienated from the children. This process can ruin relationships in ways that the children do not even understand.

The goal for parents after splitting up should be to work together to co-parent and put their children first. Unfortunately, when adults are not on good terms due to a messy divorce, this is not always what happens.

Pushing the children away from the other parent

Essentially, parental alienation is a process by which one parent manipulates the children in order to slowly push them away from the other parent. This can be done by:

  • Lying to the children — perhaps by telling them that the other parent doesn’t love them
  • Insulting the other parent when they are not around, which is common in shared custody
  • Blaming the other parent for the divorce
  • Asking the children to spy on the other parent and report back
  • Making the children feel like there are two “teams” that are at odds with one another rather than one family
  • Asking the children to pick sides or make decisions about whom they love more or with whom they want to spend time

Technically, both parents may have a full legal right to shared custody of the children. However, a parent who uses this type of manipulation can undermine that right by actively making the children not want to spend time with their ex. If you find yourself in this position, be sure you understand all of your legal options. Your attorney can help you protect your rights.