Southern California Attorneys Defend Your Rights Against Parental Alienation
A law firm with a child psychology and family counseling background
Divorce often inspires complex and intense emotions. Most parents cope effectively with their feelings of sadness, anger, angst and betrayal, and try to protect their children from destructive emotions. Some parents put their children in the middle. When the other parent's words and actions unfairly alienate you from your children, the court may need to intervene.
The lawyers at Silverman & Silverman, Attorneys at Law have 40 years of combined experience in child custody, visitation and parenting matters. In addition, lawyer Alan Silverman has 15 years of experience as a psychologist and family counselor. In that role, he often advised parents on the negative consequences of involving their children in their disputes. Our law firm guides you through important methods of managing your own emotions for the sake of helping your children adapt to the difficult aspects of a complex divorce. If the other parent is engaging in alienating behavior, we take critical legal steps to end the harmful conduct and restore your relationships with your children.
Understanding parental alienation
During a high-conflict divorce, particularly where one of the parties has a significant psychological disorder, one parent may improperly influence a child to dislike the other parent. This is often the result of such motives as a desire to obtain revenge against the other parent, to gain an advantage in the divorce litigation, to have more custodial time with the child, to avoid paying child support, to cope with their fear of loneliness, to justify their irrational beliefs about the proper parenting of the child or to justify poor decisions that they have made.
The alienating parent can be the mother or the father, but typically it is the custodial parent who has greater and more consistent access to the children. Parental alienation applies to circumstances in which the children previously enjoyed a normal relationship with the alienated parent, not to situations involving abuse.
Negative behavior that can lead to parental alienation
The alienating parent may suffer from psychological issues or may have developed hostility toward you during the divorce or difficult child custody case. Alienating behavior may be overt such as the behavior listed below or more subtle where your spouse does not make openly disparaging statements but instead engages in less obvious behavior such as positively reinforcing responses from the child that are consistent with his or her values and showing disapproval for choices made by the other parent. The following are types of overt behavior that may result in parental alienation:
- Making disparaging remarks about you in front of your children
- Yelling at and belittling you in front of your children
- Lying about you
- Falsely alleging abuse
- Accusing you of being responsible for the divorce or the family's financial troubles
- Permitting your children to treat you with disrespect
- Asking your children to act as spies and betray your trust
- Denying you access to your children
- Scheduling fun activities that your children must miss during your visitation days
California child custody laws prohibit parents from engaging in alienating conduct. Depending on the facts of your case, we may ask the court to order the other parent to refrain from the alienating behavior, require counseling for your family or modify your custody order to assure you of frequent and continuing contact with your children. In the San Diego area, there are family therapists we frequently work with that specialize in working with families where a child does not want contact with one parent.
It should be noted that parental alienation is not the same thing as the “Parental Alienation Syndrome” which is an invalid concept, psychologically and legally.
Consult with our Carlsbad attorneys about protecting your children from parental alienation
To learn what you can do if the other parent is attempting to alienate your children from you, call Silverman & Silverman, Attorneys at Law at 760.512.3251 or 415.906.4142 or contact us online to schedule your free initial phone consultation. Sunday appointments are available.
From our law office in Carlsbad, we serve clients in Oceanside, La Jolla, Vista, Encinitas, Escondido, Rancho Santa Fe and throughout the San Diego area.