Experienced Child Custody Lawyers in Miami Manage Parental Alienation Cases
Reliable representation in Florida custody disputes alleging emotional manipulation of a child
Parental alienation is a process by which one parent turns a child against the other parent. This action can be deliberate and intentional, or it can result from subconscious impulses. Either way, parental alienation inflicts emotional abuse on the child involved. It also causes undue heartache and distress to the targeted parent. When parents have been through a divorce, legal separation or paternity action, and the court has issued a child custody order, a court can find the alienating parent in violation of that order. The result can be a ruling of contempt of court and court-ordered remedies to end the alienating behavior, including a modification of the existing parenting plan. At Rafool, LLC, our family law attorneys have managed numerous child custody disputes where parties alleged parental alienation. No matter which side of the issue you find yourself, you can trust our attorneys to provide strong and effective representation.
How parental alienation works
Parents have a tremendous influence over their children, and after a divorce or separation, children are especially vulnerable to suggestion. Custodial parents have an advantage because they spend more time with the child and exercise greater control on a day-to-day basis. So, custodial parents are more often accused of alienating behavior, which includes:
- Subtle or overt rewards for rejecting the other parent
- Subtle or overt punishments for expressing affection for the other parent
- Discouraging the child from enjoying parenting time
- Encouraging the child to bow out of parenting time
- Derogatory comments about the other parent
Some parents may not even realize they are pressuring their child to reject the other parent, but in many cases, the alienating behavior is a deliberate attempt to injure the other parent. Unfortunately, the child suffers the greatest toll.
On the other hand, a child’s negative attitude toward one parent (or tendency to favor the other parent) is not necessarily a product of manipulation. The child may have some issues with that parent, perhaps related to the divorce.
Proving parental alienation requires detailed accounting to establish a pattern of behavior by the accused parent. It can help to retain a qualified mental health consultant to interview the child and determine whether alienating behavior has had an effect.
How parental alienation violates a custody order
Parents who are subject to a child custody order are expected to put the child’s welfare above their own feelings. Custody orders routinely warn against interfering with the child’s relationship with the other parent. Custody orders also require the custodial parent to encourage the child to spend parenting time with the other parent and to ready the child for those sessions. When a parent violates these provisions, a court can hold that parent in contempt.
Remedies for parental alienation
If you suspect your child’s other parent is interfering with your relationship with your child, you can petition the court to enforce the terms of the parenting plan, particularly aspects that require that parent to support your relationship and ready the child for parenting time. You must present convincing evidence that alienating behavior has occurred.
The willingness of a parent to support the child’s relationship with the other parent is a factor in the court’s child custody decision. The court can order the offending parent to cease the alienating behavior and adhere to the custody order. In severe cases with strong evidence, a court could decide that intentional alienation is a substantial and material change in circumstances, which allows for the possibility of modifying the child custody order. Therefore, a noncustodial parent who has been alienated could receive joint or sole custody under a new time-sharing plan.
Accusations of parental alienation are a serious matter. Whichever side of the issue you are on, you need strong, determined legal representation to protect your rights. That’s what you’ll find at Rafool, LLC.
Contact our Miami family law firm for child custody disputes alleging parental alienation
If you feel your child is withdrawing from you due to emotional manipulation from the other parent, or if you’ve been accused of parental alienation, the experienced family law attorneys at Rafool, LLC, can help. For immediate assistance, call us at (305) 567-9400 or contact our Miami office online to schedule an initial consultation.