Southern California Attorney Defends Your Rights Against Parental Estrangement or Alienation

A law firm with a child psychology and family counseling background

Dissolution 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.

At Silverman Family Law, APC, I have decades of experience in child-custody, visitation and parenting matters. In addition, I have 15 years of experience as a psychologist and family counselor. In that role, I often advised parents on the negative consequences of involving their children in their disputes. My 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 or estranging behavior with your children, I take critical legal steps to end the harmful conduct and restore your relationships with your children.

Understanding parental alienation or estrangement

During a high-conflict dissolution, particularly where one party has a significant psychological disorder, one parent may improperly influence a child to dislike the other parent-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 children, to avoid paying child support, to cope with his or her own fear of loneliness, to justify his or her irrational beliefs about properly parenting the children or to justify poor decisions.

Either parent can cause interference or estrangement. Typically, the custodial parent has greater and more consistent access to the children and more influence over the child. Parental interference or estrangement applies to circumstances when the children previously enjoyed a normal relationship with the interfering or estranged parent, not related to situations involving abuse.

Negative behavior can lead to parental alienation or estrangement

The estranged or interfering parent may suffer from psychological issues or may have developed hostility toward you during the dissolution process or difficult child-custody case. Interfering or estranging behavior may be overt, such as the conducts listed below, or more subtle: your spouse or partner does not make openly disparaging statements and, instead, engages in less obvious behavior, such as positively reinforcing the children’s responses that are consistent with his or her own values, showing disapproval for the other parent’s choices. The result of that parent’s cues and actions is to cause estrangement or to interfere between the children and the other parent. Examples of overt behaviors may be:

  • 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 estranging or alienating conduct. Depending on the facts of your family, I may ask the court to order the other parent to refrain from the alienating or estranging behavior, require counseling for your family or modify your custody order to assure you of frequent and continuing contact with your children. In San Diego County, Family Court therapists are available who specialize in working with families when a child does not want contact with one parent. I will recommend to you which therapists I believe are effective for you and your Family Court. It should be noted that parental interference or estrangement is not the same as “Parental Alienation Syndrome,” an invalid legal concept and an invalid psychological concept.

Consult with my Carlsbad CA firm about protecting your children from parental alienation or estrangement

To learn what you can do if the other parent is attempting to disrupt your relationship with your children,  call Silverman Family Law, APC, at 760-512-3251 or contact me online to schedule your free, initial phone consultation. Sunday appointments are available.

Silverman Family Law, APC, located in Carlsbad, California, serves clients in and around Carlsbad, San Diego, Vista, Escondido, Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, La Jolla, Mira Mesa, Poway, Rancho Bernardo, San Marcos and all North County San Diego.