Parental alienation may occur frequently during or after a divorce or separation. It is a situation in which one parent manipulates or influences a child to reject or have negative feelings towards the other parent. Parental alienation is illegal as the law foresees it as a remedy to impede the aggravation of the alienation process. The targeted parents undergo physical and emotional distance while separated from their children. Alienated parents express feelings of despair, isolation, and frustration due to the emotional and financial costs incurred while dealing with the legal system.
What makes parental alienation illegal?Violation of Court Orders: When a court issues custody or visitation orders, both parents are legally obligated to comply with those orders. Engaging in parental alienation that deliberately interferes with court-ordered custody or visitation can lead to contempt of court charges, which are a legal violation.
Adjustment to custody arrangements: When a court issues custody arrangements for the child, the parents are legally bound by it. Violating custody arrangements to propagate the alienation may lead to legal consequences.Child Custody Laws: Parental alienation can be seen as a form of emotional abuse or manipulation of a child. Many family law statutes and regulations emphasize the best interests of the child as the primary consideration in custody decisions. Engaging in behaviors that harm a child’s emotional well-being may be viewed as a violation of child custody laws.
Civil Lawsuits: In some cases, a targeted parent may pursue a civil lawsuit against the alienating parent. They may allege intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, or related claims. If the court finds in favor of the targeted parent, the alienating parent may be liable for damages, which can have significant legal and financial consequences.
Restraining Orders: In situations where parental alienation escalates to harassment, threats, or actions that pose a danger to the targeted parent or the child, the court may issue restraining orders or protective orders against the alienating parent. Violating these orders can result in criminal charges.Criminal Charges for False Allegations: In some cases, an alienating parent may make false accusations of abuse or neglect against the targeted parent to gain an advantage in a custody dispute. Making false allegations can lead to legal consequences, such as perjury charges or charges related to filing false police reports.
A parent who exposes a child to parental alienation is interfering with the child’s development. Such a child is exposed to various problems as an adult, such as
ü High divorce rates
ü Drug and substance abuse
ü Feelings of loss, abandonment and guilt
ü Insecure attachment
ü Adult depression
ü Low self-esteem
ü High risk of psychopathology
If you suspect parental alienation is occurring or affecting your family, it is important to consult with a legal professional who specializes in family law in your jurisdiction. They can provide guidance on how parental alienation is treated under the local laws and help you navigate the appropriate legal channels to address the situation.