Parental alienation harms children, in the short term and in the long run. Parental alienation can be a difficult issue to address with the courts. In parental alienation cases each parent may be classified as the Rejected or Disfavored parent while the other may be referred to as the Favored Parent. Understanding parental alienation requires knowledge that is beyond the common understanding of the term. When parental alienation is present in a family law case, unique options should be considered to resolve the offending behavior of alienation.
Parents may engage in behaviors that alienate the child from the other parent intentionally or inadvertently. Regardless of why a parent is alienating a child from the other parent, correcting the alienating parent’s behaviors and reducing the impact on the child should be the priorities.
What is Parental Alienation?
Parental alienation occurs when one parent engages in behaviors that result in the child becoming connected to that parent and estranged from the other parent. The disfavored parent is isolated from the child while in the care of the favored parent, as a result of the favored parent’s behaviors.
Typical alienating activities include disparaging the other parent, making false statements about the other parent to the child, undermining the authority of the other parent, asking the child to spy on the other parent, including the child in making adult decisions, new stepparents overstepping and substituting for the biological parent, and negatively influencing the child towards the other parent, among other behaviors. The child may become defiant towards the alienated parent, automatically side with the parenting alienating the other, lose empathy and sympathy for the alienated parent, and spread the alienation to anyone who could hear from the child, including their siblings.
Do not confuse an absent parent who is now estranged from the children as being alienated, as this is not parental alienation. Estranged parents should consider therapeutic reunification parenting time when resuming a relationship with their children. When estranged parents engage in reunification therapy parental alienation may occur and should be addressed promptly.
How to Fight Parental Alienation
Enforcing current parenting time orders should be considered when a parent is violating Court Order by alienating the child. Modifying the parenting time and decision making orders to address the parental alienation may also be an option. Involving a custody evaluator, such as a parental responsibilities evaluator (PRE) or child and family investigator (CFI) with specific training in parental alienation should also be considered.
Therapy or Counseling for the Children
Children can be incredibly resilient, but parental alienation can impact some children much more than others. Fighting parental alienation in the Colorado Courts can take time and be slow, while your children suffer. Having resources available to your children, such as counselors or therapists can help them when there are claims of parental alienation.
False Claims of Parental Alienation
The claim of parental alienation is often made without substantiation or even actual knowledge of what truly constitutes parental alienation. False claims of parental alienation misplace the focus of child custody on the conflict and are not in the best interests of the children.
How an Attorney Can Help with Parental Alienation
Our Fort Collins, Colorado child custody attorneys are well aware of parental alienation and how to address the same with the family law court. While there are many ways of addressing parental alienation, the strategy for you will depend on the facts and circumstances affecting you and your children. Our Fort Collins parental alienation attorneys can work towards developing a unique strategy tailored to you and your children.
Contact Cossitt Family Law today for a consultation about parental alienation today!