Parental alienation is a very real and damaging issue that could happen if your former spouse attempts to turn your child against you. This is often the result of a custody fight where one parent is unhappy with the arrangement and uses the child to hurt the other parent.
The courts tend to view parental alienation as abuse and as actionable. In some cases, the courts appoint a guardian ad litem, request mental evaluations, restrict visitation or change custody agreements. Here are some things that your ex might do to cause damage to your relationship with your child.
One of the most prevalent signs is when your ex refuses to let you visit and tells your child that you did not want to have visitation.
Using the child as leverage
Your ex might try to use your child as a bargaining chip to get what he or she wants in the divorce. The other parent also might try to have your child spy on you to gain that leverage.
Criticizing you in front of your child
Whether it is a real criticism or made-up, your former spouse’s criticisms about you can hurt your relationship with your child. This is one of the most common tactics former spouses use to turn a child against the other parent.
To create resentment against you, the other parent might take toys or other items away from your child when he or she talks about wanting to visit you. Your ex might also refuse to let the child show you his or her possessions.
Recognizing parental alienation is the first step in stopping it. Your former spouse needs to know that the behavior and the loss of a close relationship with you harm your child. If this knowledge is not enough, you may need to take further steps to prevent further emotional pain to your child.