Parental Alienation Attorneys
After a divorce, it is not uncommon for one parent to actively try to undermine the relationship between the children and the other parent. In fact, parental alienation, as it is known, is thought to occur in as many as 15% of all divorces where children are present. Although the parent’s anger may be directed toward a former spouse, parental alienation affects the child negatively as well. Children subjected to parental alienation may develop psychological problems such as intimacy issues and difficulty forming adult relationships later in life. They may also internalize the disaffection, causing anxiety, depression or low self-esteem. And certainly not least of all, there is the loss of a loving, supportive relationship with the other parent, which goes directly against New Jersey child custody policy which favors frequent contact for the children with both parents.
Learn more about parental alienation and what you can do about it below, and contact Englewood family law attorneys Herbert & Weiss if you are concerned about what might be happening to your relationship with your children.
What parental alienation looks like
Parental alienation can take on many forms. Typical ways a parent tries to undermine the relationship between the children and the other parent include:
Telling lies to the child about the other parent
Saying things to the child that would hurt their relationship with the other parent or color how they view the other parent, such as saying they are untruthful or even dangerous
Dehumanize the other parent with terms such as “monster”
Obstruct the visitation or custodial time for the children with the other parent
Limit the children’s access to extended family members on the other side of the family
How to tell if parental alienation is going on
Parental alienation tactics take place outside of the view of the alienated parent, so it can be hard for the alienated parent to understand what is going on. Signs that parental alienation may be occurring include:
The child’s attitude toward the parent changes. There is a loss of respect, warmth or affection
The child can’t say anything nice about the parent but is unable to say why
The child will start to make excuses to avoid custodial time or visitation with the parent, and the custodial parent will readily back up the child’s choices
If being examined in court or with Child Protection and Permanency, it is obvious the child was coached about what to say, or the words the child uses are beyond their years
What you can do about parental alienation in New Jersey
Talk to your family law attorney about what you think is going on. Parental or family counseling, or revisiting the parenting arrangement through mediation may help resolve matters. If the situation is more serious, legal intervention in the courts may be necessary. Your lawyer will need to be able to prove parental alienation is occurring, and the other parent may dispute this allegation. If the court does believe parental alienation is ongoing, the judge has many options to address the situation. For instance, New Jersey family courts could:
Change the schedule of visitation and parenting time, ordering makeup parenting time for lost visitation
Change which parent serves as the primary custodial parent
Withhold child support for the period that visitation is obstructed
As you can see, the court has broad authority to stop and remedy parental alienation. Whether you are the parent who is being alienated or the parent accused of alienation, you will want to have smart, strong and skilled representation in any New Jersey family court legal proceeding.
Call Our Englewood Family Law Attorneys for Help with Parental Alienation Matters
For help with issues of parental alienation after a New Jersey divorce, contact the Englewood family law attorneys Herbert & Weiss at 201-440-6300. Our skilled and experienced lawyers will work to protect your rights and preserve or restore your relationship with your kids.