Why Parental Alienation Is Controversial in Family Law

 Posted on July 13, 2019 in Child Custody

Why Parental Alienation Is Controversial in Family LawWhen arguing over the allocation of parental responsibilities, one parent may accuse the other of creating parental alienation. The concept, which is sometimes called parental alienation syndrome, is that one parent is encouraging the children to not have a relationship with the other parent for reasons that are illogical or selfish. Parental alienation can be viewed as a form of child abuse, and some parents have used the claim to gain greater or complete responsibility for the children. However, parental alienation is a controversial subject because an abusive parent could use it to gain access to their children.

Potential for Abuse

The professional psychology community is divided on parental alienation syndrome, including:

  • Whether it is a psychological condition:
  • How it can be identified and proven; and
  • How prevalent it is in parenting relationships.

These doubts lead some to believe that parental alienation should not be a major consideration in family courts. Parental alienation has helped decide parental responsibilities in real cases. In some cases, allegedly abusive parents have gained full child custody by accusing the other parent of unreasonably withholding the children. Critics of parental alienation claim that abusive parents are taking advantage of the concept to control their children and punish their co-parents.

How to Prepare

Family courts can have difficulty determining whether to believe an allegation of parental alienation. A parent who is truly alienating their children from the other parent for selfish reasons is causing psychological damage to the children by denying them a healthy parental relationship. However, a parent is responsible for protecting their children from an abusive co-parent, and children may decide on their own that they do not want contact with an abusive parent. As a parent going through a divorce or separation, you can try to prevent allegations of parental alienation:

  • Do not speak poorly about your co-parent around your children;
  • Allow your children to form their own opinions about your co-parent;
  • Listen to how your children describe their interaction with their other parent;
  • Take protective action only if there is credible suspicion of abuse; and
  • Document the evidence of abuse and report it to the police if necessary.

Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney

In most situations, you should agree to share parental responsibilities with your co-parent for the benefit of your children. However, shared parenting with an abusive co-parent could put your children in danger. A Kane County family law lawyer at Goostree Law Group can help you argue that your children will be safer in your care. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.



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