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Signs of Parental Alienation

Posted by John D. Kershman | Jul 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

First off, what is Parental alienation? Many characterize it as a form of child abuse in which one parent undertakes to manipulate children psychologically to reject the other parent. In Missouri, where joint legal custody and substantially shared custody and visitation plans are strongly favored, may give rise to the justification for the court to modify parenting time when one parent is, in this case, purposefully undermining the other parents' relationship with the children. As such, even, generally speaking, Parents must be mindful to avoid any appearance of parental alienation. Then, those parents who are the subject of the alienation should seek help in remedying the situation before it could become too far gone. Whether you are the subject of the accusation of parental alienation or the victim of such alienation, it will be critical for you to speak with a St. Louis area Family law attorney as soon as possible.

Spotting the Signs of Parental Alienation

Following are just some examples of the types of actions that a parent may use to alienate the affection of the other parent:

  • Disparaging remarks about the target parent in front of the children;

  • Being objectively disrespectful to the target parent in front of the children;

  • Removing all pictures of the other parent from the home;

  • Discussing specifics of the divorce case;

  • Undermining parenting time by encouraging children to refuse to go;

  • Implying the other parent is not capable or scary.

  • Regularly, or even habitually, speaking phrases about the other parent (which the alienating parent may argue as being sarcastic or just playing around) such as “mom/dad is no fun,” “mom/dad won't let us go on vacation,” “mom/dad always says no,” “mom/dad won't let you move to (someplace really cool), “uh, I hate when I have to talk to your mom/dad,” etc.

Suppose your child is not willing to see you or otherwise acts differently around you during your parenting time (examples include repeating phrases such as described above). In that case, it will be worth considering whether parental alienation is the cause. Then, beginning to develop a plan to see to the cessation of the undesirable conduct by the other parent. Suppose you cannot find solutions to eliminate the behavior. It will be time to consider whether the threat of consequences or indeed the consequences themselves of a court potentially ordering marked changes are made in the custody and visitation order. Now will be the time to speak with a St. Louis area Family law attorney as soon as possible.

Fighting Parental Alienation

For victims of parental alienation, it becomes essential to minimize the harm to the children. Begin with gathering evidence such as texts, emails, letters, voicemails, and even video conference calls that illustrate the problem. Keep a detailed log that includes specific information about your child's behaviors. Some examples may include how your children may interact with each other. Examples may include one child repeating to another child the same or similar disparaging remarks or behaviors made by one parent to the other. Missouri family courts may ultimately order to modify parenting time, order supervised visitation, or even change custody if parental alienation is demonstrated. 

St. Louis Area Family Law Attorneys

Whether you believe your spouse or your ex is alienating your children, or that you believe you have been wrongly accused of parental alienation, it is important to get advice from a family law attorney in St. Louis as soon as possible to minimize the potential psychological harm to your children.

Call the attorneys at the Ahearn Kershman now to schedule a no-charge initial consultation: 314-373-7135

About the Author

John D. Kershman

John focuses his practice on Family Law litigation and Family Law Mediation. He is a member of the IACP - International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, as well as the AMM - Association of Missouri Mediators, and the APFM - Academy of Professional Family Mediators and Member of the Hague Convention Attorney Network through the U.S. Department of State. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis.


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