California law may consider parental alienation a form of child abuse, for it is a strategy where one parent deliberately exhibits unjustified negativity directed at the other parent. It is prevalent among separated or divorced parents. If your co-parent has been showing signs of parental alienation, it is best to try and put an end to it.
Some examples of parental alienation may include:
- Saying nasty negative things about the other parent in front of the child
- Comparing the other parent to a new love interest
- Restricting the child’s communication with their other parent without a justifiable reason
- Breaking custody agreements
- Telling the child lies about the other parent
These factors can influence the relationship one has with their child and with their ex-spouse. For example, these behaviors may affect what the child thinks of the non-alienating parent.
It is difficult for some to determine whether parental alienation occurs because it is likely something the other parent displays out of the presence.
Signs that may indicate whether or not parental alienation is happening:
- The child is relaying to you what the other parent says about you.
- The child abruptly holds a grudge against you
- There are text messages that indicate parental alienation is occurring
- The child starts to show signs of anger and resentment
Can I Sue My Ex for Parental Alienation?
It is not possible to sue exclusively for parental alienation because it is not a crime by itself. However, if one demonstrates that parental alienation is occurring, this may alter the custody agreement in one’s favor. Proving parental alienation is helpful because emotional ties, the overall health of the child, and influence over custody and visitation agreements are at stake.
The best solution may be to remove the child from the alienating parent’s house in the most severe instances. In less extreme examples, it may involve an intense conversation, changing the custody agreement, or therapy.
If the other parent commits an illegal act while alienating the other parent, this may result in separate charges and a change in the custody agreement. For instance, if the parent physically or emotionally harms the child, this may result in domestic abuse charges rather than a custody battle over parental alienation.
Courts and judges want to do what is best for the child, so if you believe parental alienation is occurring, it may be in your interest to talk with an attorney. They will provide the best advice on how to proceed. Addressing this issue will help the child in the long run since it is ill-advised for a child to be in an environment with that type of negativity.
Ways to Prove Parental Alienation
While it is not something one can sue for on their own, it may still be in one’s interest to prove to a judge that parental alienation is occurring to determine what is best for the child. One key area to focus on is behavior.
If you suspect parental alienation, keeping detailed records may be in your interest. The most crucial element is to describe the behavior exhibited because this is what ultimately determines custody arrangements. Some examples of forms of evidence to keep may include:
- A written journal or documents of conversations
- Text messages
- Social media
It may also be helpful to seek the advice of people familiar with your child to see if they think your child is behaving differently. Is your child being degenerative and dissociative? Are they particularly or unreasonably angry? Some examples of witnesses that may be helpful in this regard include family, friends, and teachers. If the child is exhibiting extreme emotional distress, it may be best to seek the help of a therapist for your child.
Another way to prove parental alienation is to gather witnesses. It is best to use people who are familiar with yourself and your child. They can report on whether or not they have observed any alienation or if the child behaves differently. Some examples may include grandparents, teachers, friends, babysitters, or a therapist.
In some instances, parental alienation may affect custody agreements. California Evidence Code 730 states that private custody evaluations are admissible in court. A psychologist generally performs them and interviews the child, the parents, and any other necessary witnesses to gather evidence. Based on their findings, they will recommend to the court whom they believe is the best custody arrangement and what the visitation rules are.
If one is in the process of a private custody evaluation, it may be in one’s interest to share whether they believe parental alienation is occurring. In the event parental alienation occurs, it can affect the custody agreement, and it is something the psychologist should know since alienation behaviors can hurt a child’s emotional well-being.
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one is facing parental alienation, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.