Divorce has the potential to turn into a bitter and adversarial process. Unless both parties are committed to being amicable, things can get really messy as assets are fought over, and personal grievances explode to the surface. People who once committed to a lifetime together become bitter enemies.
It’s an unfortunate reality that is also tragic when children involved. At the very least, the kids have to listen to their parents fight and denigrate each other. At worst, former spouses use them as weapons to punish one another. This practice, known as “parental alienation,” is extremely damaging to both the children and the parent being targeted.
Alienation tactics include making children feel guilty about loving their other parent, aggressively disparaging that parent to them, and interrogating them about everything they did while visiting with their mother or father. Alienating parents will even make the child feel that they’re not safe with the other parent, making comments such as, “If you get scared, call me.” Over time, the children can become traumatized and act accordingly.
If you are divorced, and your child exhibits any of the following behaviors, then parental alienation is a likely cause if he or she:
- Suddenly withdraws from you for no discernible reason
- Becomes aggressive and even calls you names
- Uses adult-level language to describe how you ruined their lives and caused the marriage to end
- Seems to imitate their other parent
- Declares that they “hate” you and your parents/their grandparents and other relatives
As a parent, it is incredibly distressing to watch your child be turned against you. You also need to be worried about the negative emotional and psychological impact that parental alienation has on him or her. Not only are they internalizing hostile feelings toward you at a time when maintaining a strong and loving relationship is important, but they are also at risk for depression, trust issues, and self-esteem problems later on.
If you believe that your ex is subjecting the children to parental alienation tactics, then contact a New York family law attorney. If a judge concludes that he or she is guilty of such counterproductive measures, then it can damage their custody case or even able you to obtain a post-judgment modification that gives you full custody. New York courts are committed to ruling in the best interests of the child, and parental alienation is arguably a form of abuse.
Your attorney will take all necessary steps to help you protect your children from being used as a weapon against you. Parental alienation, while recognized, is still largely misunderstood and your attorney can present your case to the judge in a way that elucidates the damaging effects and emphasizes the need to stop it for good.
If you are seeking legal council in Westchester contact the Law Offices of Joseph S. Gulino, Jr., Esq., PLLC at (914) 292-9272 for a consultation. We serve the five boroughs of New York City and the surrounding communities. We have been recognized as a top Divorce Attorney in Westchester, New York with high ratings by Avvo. We will work tirelessly to make sure your rights and best interests are effectively represented.