When you decided to file for divorce in a Maryland court, you knew that your decision was going to have an impact on your children's lives. However, you also knew that you would build a strong support system around your kids to help them cope and move on in life. You adamantly believed that with the right amount of cooperation and compromise between you and your spouse, your children would be okay.
That's before you realized that your future former spouse had a different plan in mind, one that would attempt to alienate your children from you, to make you the bad guy, to impede your parent/child relationships and to flat-out undermine your parental authority and disregard your rights. Parental alienation causes serious contention and legal problems in many divorce situations. There are ways to rectify this type of problem.
It's one thing to accuse your co-parent of trying to keep you from your kids or to ruin your parent/child relationships. It's another to be able to show evidence to a judge to prove that it is happening. The following list shows signs that one parent is attempting to alienate the other parent from their children:
- When kids use adult terminology when sharing points of view or descriptions about you, it is a sign that the other parent is spoon-feeding those terms to the children.
- One or more or your children may constantly criticize you, but never criticize the other parent.
- If a child often questions your judgment, it may be because the other parent has targeted you for alienation and is encouraging the child to second-guess you.
- If the other parent is dwelling on past marital problems and often vents about such issues to the children, it may be an attempt to turn the kids against you.
- Overt attempts at alienation include not handing kids over when it is time to exchange custody or not providing children with a means to communicate with you while in the care of the alienating parent.
It's easy to get upset and angry about parental alienation. It can cause serious emotional harm to children, which is difficult to repair. Some parents even stoop to making false accusations about their co-parents, either to the kids themselves or to the court, to attempt to gain control and keep the targeted parent away from the children.
What to do if it's happening to you
In addition to trying to remain as calm as possible, it's important to remember that you have rights. Especially if you already have an existing court order, both parents must adhere to the terms of that order, 100 percent, at all times. If your ex refuses to do so or is in any way trying to turn your kids against you, you can bring the matter to the court's immediate attention.