Parental alienation is a very serious issue that does happen in divorce cases. It has been studied by experts and found to be a real phenomenon that has a detrimental impact on the child. Essentially, parental alienation has been defined as a situation in which “one parental figure has waged a psychological campaign to, baselessly, turn a child against the other parent.”
For instance, your spouse may have blamed you for the upcoming divorce and slowly tried to manipulate the child into thinking that everything was your fault or that you are fundamentally a bad person. What they’re trying to do is get the child to want to spend more time with them or to not want to spend any time with you. Parental alienation is so damaging because the child may not even realize it’s happening. This can cut them off from contact with their other parent, which can hinder their development as they grow up.
Are people claiming that it’s happening when there’s no evidence?
The problem here is that some studies have found that parental alienation is being misused. There are cases in which some experts feel it should not apply, but it is at least being claimed.
One problem they have related to this is the fact that it is sometimes being used to try to get around abuse allegations. One person will say that their spouse was abusive, for instance, and the other spouse will counter that by saying they’re just trying to commit parental alienation. It should not be a cover-up for abuse, as the child’s safety and health still has to be the most important part of the equation.
There may also be situations in which things are being overblown and termed parental alienation when that’s not really what’s happening. Making one negative comment about your ex doesn’t mean you’re trying to alienate your child from that person.
A complicated situation
You can see how complicated things like this become. On one hand, the courts know that it is generally best for children to see both parents. On the other, they also know that they want to protect the children from alienation or abuse. How do they find a balance? How did they determine when the allegations are real or when they’re being fabricated?
If you do find yourself in a situation like this, it’s very important for you to understand your legal rights.