Thursday, December 17, 2015

Be aware of three actions in broken marriages that can lead to parental alienation

Three reasons ….

According to marriage statistics, nearly half of all first marriages will end in divorce while more than half of all second and third marriages fail.  Unfortunately, the victims of these separations are the children. Sometimes the children are used as pawns for they often have no voice.

The legal system decides which parent gains custody. The custodial parent wields the power and will often decide where the children will live and even what clothing they will wear.  Non-custodial parents become part-time parents and unfortunately often have limited visitation rights.

If a divorce is amicable, parents will compromise and work together to raise their children. However, problems often occur when marriages end badly.  In many custody hearings, parents treat the courtroom like a battlefield.  Both parties will hire attorneys and sling mud at each other like seasoned politicians.

Again, instead of co-parenting, some parents use their children as pawns to alienate the other parent.  A parent may try to alienate a child by:   
  1. Making negative comments about the other parent: For instance, a parent might say, “Sorry Billy, daddy is not going to pick you up this weekend because his fishing trip is more important.” However, what the mother fails to mention is that her ex had planned the fishing trip a year ago. Billy may think his father does not care about spending time together. (This is classic!)
  2. Moving away: A parent may move the child to another state or even several hours away. Limiting visits may appear as an intentional act to limit the non-custodial parent’s visitation. (This happens way too often)
  3. Withholding visitation rights: Although courts establish visitation guidelines, it does not mean the custodial parent will follow the rules.  Often, a parent may withhold visitation because the other parent does not do what they want the children around the other parent's family members for whatever reason. Many times the withholding of the visitation rights are subtle with statements like, "Oh I forgot .. I had to take the children to one of their classmates birthday parties .." However, courts consider visitation and child support as separate orders.  Even if the non-custodial takes the other parent to court for contempt, the non-custodial parent may have to miss work or hire an attorney. 
Although some marriages have no hope of ending amicably, parents should always consider the welfare of their children.  Sadly, children from broken families are more likely to feel insecure, become rebellious, or even blame themselves for the divorce.  For more information about parental alienation, please contact us at FMD for more details.    

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