Southern California Attorneys Defend 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.
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 R. 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 or estranging behavior with your children, we 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. 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 made.
The parent causing alienation or estrangement can either parent. Typically, the custodial parent has greater and more consistent access to the children and more influence over the child. Parental alienation or estrangement applies to circumstances whereby the children previously enjoyed a normal relationship with the alienated or estranged parent, not to situations involving abuse.
Negative behavior can lead to parental alienation or estrangement
The alienating parent may suffer from psychological issues or may have developed hostility toward you during the divorce or difficult child custody case. Alienating or estranging behavior may be overt such as the conducts listed below or more subtle where your spouse or partner 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 own values and showing disapproval for choices made by the other parent. The result of that parent’s actions is to cause estrangement or alienation 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, we 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 therapists are available and who specialize in working with families where a child does not want contact with one parent. We will recommend to you which therapists we believe are effective for you and your family.
It should be noted that parental alienation or estrangement is not the same as “Parental Alienation Syndrome”, an invalid legal concept and an invalid psychological concept.
Consult with our Carlsbad CA attorneys about protecting your children from parental alienation or estrangement
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 online to schedule your free initial phone consultation. Sunday appointments are available.
Silverman & Silverman, Attorneys at Law, located in Carlsbad, California, serves clients in and around Carlsbad, San Diego, Oceanside, 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.