While many divorces can come to an amicable conclusion, the unfortunate truth is that some splits breed aggressive or competitive behavior. One example of this comes in the form of parental alienation.
A parent is guilty of alienation when they use manipulative behavior to turn their child against the other parent. This may include insulting the other parent in front of the child, refusing visitation or otherwise undermining the relationship, all of which can have negative effects during a divorce.
How parental alienation harms a child
Psychology experts explain that parental alienation can be a form of both child abuse and family violence. Not only does manipulative behavior harm the relationship between the child and another parent, but it can also cause a pattern of mistrust in the child that can affect their long-term social or mental state.
How parental alienation affects divorce proceedings
Parental alienation can have a direct effect on an ongoing divorce, specifically in regard to matters of child custody. While a child’s wishes are not the determining factor in custody disputes, the alienating parent might nonetheless try to turn the child against the other when discussing guardianship. However, a judge is likely to rule against a parent guilty of alienation in the presence of evidence proving abusive behavior.
Parental alienation can have immediate effects when it occurs during a heated divorce. More importantly, it can be extremely harmful to the child caught in the middle for years to come. Any potential pattern of parental alienation requires immediate intervention.