When New Jersey parents decide to dissolve their marriage, they typically must first resolve numerous issues pertaining to their children. Child custody, child support and other important matters can be complex in a divorce, especially if the relationship between the parents is contentious. Parental alienation is a problem that occurs when one parent intentionally acts maliciously toward the other and tries to turn the children against his or her former spouse.
Signs of attempted parental alienation
Most New Jersey family court judges would agree that children are best able to cope with divorce in shared custody arrangements. If one parent is trying to alienate the other, it can cause the kids to become confused and experience high levels of stress. The following list includes numerous issues that often signify an intentional attempt to alienate a parent in a divorce:
- Children are being denied access to or communication with their other parent.
- A parent is disregarding the terms of an existing court order.
- Children are being lied to by one parent about the other.
- A parent tries to convince kids that their other parent does not love them.
- A parent speaks maliciously about the other parent in front of the children.
- One parent falsely accuses the other of being unfit.
These are some of the most common signs that a parent is trying to alienate his or her children from a co-parent in a divorce. There are many other issues that would signify alienation as well, such as acts of violence toward a co-parent or purposely giving misinformation to a co-parent – for instance, giving the wrong date or time of a school play on purpose.
Both parents must adhere to the terms of a court order at all times
It can be difficult to prove that a parent is trying to alienate a co-parent from his or her children. However, if the parent in question is undermining the other parent’s rights or is disobeying a court order, the parent being alienated can take swift legal action to resolve the issue. Once a judge issues a child custody or support order in a divorce, both parents must adhere to its terms.
If a parent is supposed to make the children available to see the other parent at a specific time and place and refuses to do so or is not allowing children to talk to their other parent on the phone, etc., the court may hold the parent who is doing such things in contempt. It is often difficult to help children recover from a parental alienation scheme, which is why it is always best to try to resolve such issues as soon as any signs of attempt arise.