Using Family Law to Combat Parental Alienation

Using Family Law to Combat Parental AlienationA selfish and cruel co-parent may purposely try to turn your children against you in order to damage your relationship with them. There is a psychological term for this practice, called parental alienation. Psychologists have an ongoing debate about whether Parental Alienation Syndrome is a mental disorder, but there is little doubt that a parent who is alienating his or her children against the other parent can cause emotional and psychological damage to the children. If you are the victim of parental alienation, you may need to go to family court to reassert your parental rights and protect your children.

Identifying Alienation

Parental alienation is different from situations where children have limited contact with a parent because the parent is a legitimate danger or has failed to maintain a relationship. Alienation involves one parent undermining a child’s relationship with the other parent for vindictive or selfish reasons. A parent may cause alienation by:

  • Consistently making deprecating comments about the other parent;
  • Encouraging the children to disrespect the other parent;
  • Lying about the other parent; and
  • Withholding parenting time.

As a result of alienation, the children can become callous towards the alienated parent or fearful of him or her. The children take on the animosity that the alienating parent feels. However, they have also been robbed of having a supportive relationship with the other parent, which can cause long-term emotional damage.

Defending Yourself

If the alienating parent is violating your parenting time agreement, you can request that the court enforce the agreement. Your co-parent does not have the right to reduce the number of hours you see the children without modifying the agreement. Legal recourse is less clear for other forms of parental alienation. A parent who is trying to alienate your children against you can be described as abusive and manipulative, which could make him or her a danger to your children. You may need greater parental responsibilities in order to protect your children and your relationship with them. However, you will need to present an argument that:

  • Documents examples of how your co-parent is alienating your children against you;
  • Shows how those alienation efforts have affected your relationship with your children; and
  • Explains why giving you greater parental responsibilities is in the best interest of your children.

Parental Relationship

It is important for your children to have regular and healthy interaction with you. Children benefit from having two parents in their lives, even when those parents are not living together. A Kane County family law attorney at Goostree Law Group can help defend you against efforts by your co-parent to alienate you from your children. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.


Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

 555 S. Randall Road, Suite 200
St. Charles, IL 60174


 400 S. County Farm Road, Suite 300
Wheaton, IL 60187


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