b2ap3_thumbnail_crystal-lake-divorce-attorney.jpgIt goes without saying that many divorced or separated parents are not especially fond of each other. Parents who do not see eye-to-eye can struggle to co-parent effectively. Some disagree about their child’s education or church involvement. Others differ with regard to household rules or discipline.

Some parents hold onto anger from their marriage and let this anger influence the way they parent their children. They may talk badly about the other parent or even discourage the child from having a close relationship with the other parent.

In some cases, the situation escalates into parental alienation. Parental alienation occurs when a parent intentionally sabotages the relationship between the child and the other parent. Many experts consider parental alienation to be a form of emotional abuse.

Effects of Parental Alienation

Save for cases involving abuse or other mistreatment, it is usually in a child’s best interests to have a close relationship with both of his or her parents. Unfortunately, divorced parents’ resentment toward each other can sometimes negatively affect the child’s relationship with the parents. Sometimes, a parent intentionally damages the child’s relationship with the other parent. This is extremely harmful for both the alienated parent and the child. The child may feel confused, angry, guilty, and afraid. He or she may fear that having any positive feelings toward the alienated parent is an insult to the parent discouraging the relationship. The child may suffer from low self-esteem, problems at school, anxiety, depression, and difficulty forming friendships and relationships with others.

Parental Alienation Can Take Many Forms

Parents should keep adult conflict between the adults. Unfortunately, some parents weaponize their children by intentionally destroying the parent-child bond through parental alienation.

Parental alienation often involves:

  • Talking badly about the other parent

  • Becoming angry with a child who expresses love or affection for the other parent

  • Withholding court-ordered parenting time from the other parent

  • Intentionally scheduling appointments or other activities that conflict with the other parent’s parenting time

  • Manufacturing lies about the other parent

  • Encouraging the child to express hatred toward the other parent

How Can Parental Alienation Influence Child Custody Matters

Parents are generally expected to help facilitate a positive relationship between the child and the other parent. In fact, Illinois courts consider this matter to be so important that it is specifically mentioned in Illinois law as one of the “best interest factors” used to determine parental responsibilities and parenting time.

If a parent is intentionally turning the child against the other parent, violating the parenting time schedule, or causing significant emotional or psychological harm to the child, this can absolutely influence child custody matters. Some courts may choose to restrict a parent’s parenting time if he or she is committing parental alienation. However, it can be extremely difficult to prove that a parent is systematically alienating the other parent. Parents in this situation are highly encouraged to work with a family law attorney experienced in child custody disputes.

Contact a Crystal Lake Child Custody Lawyer

The McHenry County child custody lawyers at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC have ample experience in complicated child custody and divorce disputes. Call our office at 815-338-3838 to set up a free consultation to learn how we can help you.



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