If you have decided to end your marriage, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have many issues to address. In addition to dividing the marital estate and contemplating spousal support, you must think about child custody. If you cannot reach an agreement, your husband or wife may try to gain an unfair advantage by turning your kids against you.
Parental alienation occurs when one parent convinces the children to fear, mistrust or dislike the other parent. This type of behavior may complicate your divorce considerably. Luckily, there are some ways to stop alienating behaviors before they cause long-term psychological harm.
Common signs of parental alienation
Parental alienation may take many different forms, but the following are some common signs of it:
- Your spouse asks the kids to spy on you
- Your spouse excludes you from normal parent-child activities
- Your spouse tells your kids negative things about you
- Your spouse asks your children not to talk to you
Regrettably, because of the power imbalance between parents and children, parental alienation is often effective. That is, if your spouse wants to turn your kids against you, he or she probably has a good chance of succeeding, at least temporarily.
The best interests of your children
If a judge must settle your custody dispute, he or she has a legal obligation to determine what is best for your children. To do so, the judge considers 16 factors. Still, parental alienation is not in any child’s best interests. In fact, many child psychologists see parental alienation as a type of abuse.
Ultimately, preserving your parent-child relationship is likely to be good for both you and your kids. You should, therefore, act quickly to curtail parental alienation and repair any damage it causes.