Family Matters.
When It Really Matters.

Signs of Parental Alienation in Child Custody Cases

On Behalf of | Jul 24, 2019 | Child Custody and Visitation

What are the signs of parental alienation in child custody cases throughout Carlsbad, Encinitas, Oceanside, Vista and North County San Diego?  How will parental alienation affect child custody and parenting time in a Carlsbad divorce proceeding?

Many people are surprised to learn that parental alienation is considered to be a form of child abuse.  Parental alienation is rooted in anger and manipulation.  The definition of parental alienation comes from a 1980’s child psychologist Dr. Richard A. Gardner.  Generally speaking it is loosely described as the actions of one parent to turn the couple’s child(ren) against the other parent.  This type of manipulative emotional and mental behavior is in and of itself considered to be abusive.  Children who are the victims of parental alienation have been found to grow up with serious challenges including substance abuse, depression, intense issues with trust and bonding and even suicide.

If there are signs of parental alienation in child custody cases here in Carlsbad it can absolutely affect the Court’s decisions regarding the best interests of the child(ren) and resulting custody and parenting time.  Some of the signals of the potential for parental alienation include:

  • Perception of the child that one parent is 100% good and the other is 100% bad
  • Language, tone or attitude of the child describing the alienated parent is found to be above the child’s developmental level
  • Reluctance to visit one parent despite a history of a warm and loving relationship in the past
  • Disrespectful, hostile or contemptuous behavior toward one parent

If you suspect signs of parental alienation in child custody cases here in Carlsbad it is best to immediately seek the advice of our experienced attorneys as well as a diagnosis by professional and experienced psychologist or psychiatrist.

The good news is a recent large study published by the American Bar Association provides evidence for hope.  In most cases, once parental alienation has been established the most common response of judges has been to increase the amount of time the child spends with the alienated parent, while reducing exposure to the source of alienation.  The result: in 90% of the cases in the study the result was a positive change in the relationship between the child and the alienated parent.

Are you concerned about signs of parental alienation?  Contact the experienced Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq or call 760-389-3927 to learn more and schedule an appointment.