In our last post, we began looking at the importance of cooperation between parents in making a proposed child custody arrangement work. As we noted, the ability to cooperate is an important factor in determining whether a proposed custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child, and it can also seriously impact how involved a court may become in custody matters after an initial custody decision is made.
One unfortunate way lack of cooperation can sometimes play out between couples is in parental alienation. In particularly contentious separations, one or both parents may engage in behavior and speech which serves to turn the affections of a child away from the other parent. When this happens, it isn’t only the other parent who suffers, but also the child.
According to the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization, the behaviors that lead to parental alienation can be disturbing and frightening for a child, causing mental and emotional damage. When one or both parents attempt to turn a child away from the other parent, the result is often a lack of a sense of security and safety, and corresponding emotional and psychiatric reactions.
When a parent suspects that the other parent is attempting to alienation a child from them, it is important to understand what legal options are available to protect their relationship with the child. In such cases, going back to court to modify the parenting time agreement or custody arrangement may be necessary. We’ll continue looking at this issue in next time.