In contentious custody battles, one parent may claim that the other parent is alienating their child in an attempt to gain custody or visitation rights in the case. Known as parental alienation, this concept has been largely debunked but is still sometimes entertained by the family courts. If you would like to learn more about what to do if someone claims parental alienation in your case, call the office or contact us today at the Hodgson Law Office in Spokane. If you are wondering what to do about parental alienation, schedule a case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable family law attorneys today.
The concept of parental alienation alleges that a child becomes estranged from one parent because of the systematic psychological manipulation of the other parent. In the vast majority of cases, the noncustodial parent claims that the custodial parent is alienating the child, usually as part of a claim to win greater visitation rights or custody of the child. Because there is no strong science to back the concept of parental alienation, claims of alienation run the gamut from passive comments about the other parent to allegations that a parent is utilizing fear of kidnapping to drive a wedge between the child and the other parent.
While this theory has been largely debunked, some family courts in Washington state still agree to hear claims of parental alienation in custody cases. If this is occurring in your case, it is critical that you speak with an experienced Washington family law attorney as soon as possible.
Claims of parental alienation are difficult to defend against because the concept is so loosely defined, but there are steps that you can take if your ex is alleging that you are alienating your child from them. Even though the majority of parental alienation cases occur because of a communication breakdown between parents, one step that you can take is to let the noncustodial parent know about all of your child’s activities and extracurriculars. Send the noncustodial parent report cards and school information as well as all updates on dental and doctor appointments.
Do not bad-mouth the other parent in front of your child, and when speaking to your ex, refer to the child as “ours” and not “my.” Have photos available of the other parent for your child to look at, and help your child remember the other parent’s birthday as well as other special dates. Document your communications with your ex as much as possible, as this can be helpful evidence against any claims of alienation in a custody battle.
The truth is that a child may at some point become naturally closer with one parent or another. Especially during a heated custody battle or embittered divorce, a child may choose sides without being manipulated into doing so. While the other parent may not like this, a rift in the parent-child relationship is not always attributable to Parental Alienation.
Parental alienation is a tactic used to tear away a child instead of working with the other parent to create a meaningful relationship with the child after a divorce. To learn more about how to combat allegations of parental alienation in your child custody case, talk to the experienced family law attorneys in Spokane at the Hodgson Law Office to schedule a consultation of your case.